THE PURPOSE OF THE OUTDOOR WARNING SIRENS
Outdoor warning sirens are only designed to be heard outside - they are not intended to penetrate inside residential and commercial structures. Warning sirens only have an audible footprint of one to two miles, meaning that you have to be within that distance (in any direction) of the siren in order to be able to hear it. Keeping that in mind, during the rain and hail that oftentimes accompanies many severe storms, it becomes even harder to hear a siren at a distance. Wind speed and direction also will affect that sound range. Outdoor warning sirens exist for one purpose only – to alert people who are outdoors that something dangerous is happening, and that they should go inside. Once inside, people should use a radio or the television to get current and updated information. Ultimately, while outdoor warning sirens can be instrumental in warning citizens who are outdoors about impending danger, residents who are already inside need to depend on other options to stay updated on impending danger.
INDOOR WARNING SIREN OPTIONS
If you are indoors, use a radio, television or a special National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio to get specifics on potentially dangerous weather events. Like a smoke detector, a weather radio waits in standby mode until a warning is issued. When the National Weather Service issues a warning, weather radios in businesses and households throughout the threat area automatically alarm and broadcast the warning, allowing people to take the appropriate actions. Portable models also are available for use outdoors or when traveling.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HEAR A SIREN
If the sirens are sounded:
1. Be alert. A tornado warning siren will consist of a 3- to 5-minute steady siren blast.
2. Seek shelter immediately.
3. Turn on your radio for further information.
Note: Residents should not call 9-1-1 to find out why sirens are sounding. Only dial 9-1-1 if you need to report an emergency.
The following definitions are used by the National Weather Service to help community service units warn their residents of impending severe weather conditions:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - The threat of severe thunderstorms and damaging winds exist in a defined area.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning - A severe thunderstorm has been observed by the public, or detected by radar, and persons in the warning area should take precautions.
Tornado Watch - Climatic conditions exist which could result in tornado activity within a defined area. Tornado watch bulletins will also state that severe thunderstorm activity is expected.
Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted in the defined area or has been detected by radar. Persons in or near the area should take immediate cover or steps to insure safety.
Severe Weather Statement - Issued by the National Weather Service during weather watches. Advises the status of weather in the WATCH area.
Attack Warning Signal - An attack warning is a 3 to 5 minute wavering tone or siren or a series of short blasts. The attack warning signal means that an actual attack or detected missile launched against the United States has been detected and that protective action should be taken immediately. The attack warning shall be repeated as often as deemed necessary to obtain the required response by the population, including taking protective action related to the arrival of fallout. Per federal guidance, "this signal will be used for no other purpose and will have no other meaning."
Attention or Alert Signal - An attention or alert signal is a 3 to 5 minute steady signal from a siren. This signal will be used to alert the public of peacetime emergencies. The attention or alert signal shall indicate to all persons '" turn on your radio or television, listen for essential emergency information and take immediate cover. This signal will be used for weather emergency.
It is essential that the warning system be tested on a periodic basis to be certain that the system is operating properly and to help the public learn to recognize the warning signals.
The Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Act of 1988 specifically indicates "the testing of disaster warning devices, including outdoor warning sirens, shall be held only on the first Tuesday of each month at 10:00 o'clock in the morning and during disaster training exercises that are specifically and expressly approved in advance by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency." Federal guidance indicates that monthly warning system tests should occur in the following manner:
"The ATTENTION/ALERT signal should be sounded for 1 minute." This testing procedure will establish a test exercise pattern different from that used in an actual emergency when the ATTENTION/ALERT or the ATTACK/WARNING signal will be sounded for 3 to 5 minutes.
The Outdoor Warning Sirens are positioned at the following locations:
Village Hall (Village of New Lenox)
Water Tower @ Nelson & Meadow Ridge (Village of New Lenox)
S. Roberts Road @ RR Tracks (Village of New Lenox)
Clinton Road, 1/2 mile north of Francis Road (Village of New Lenox)
Cherry Hill School (Village of New Lenox)
Waste Water Treatment @ 2210 Sanford Ave. (Village of New Lenox)
Bluestone Bay Well House #2 (Village of New Lenox)
Airway Court (Laraway Road & Schoolhouse Road (New Lenox Township)
Lincoln Way Central High School (New Lenox Township)
Francis Field 4H Center, S. Side of Francis Road (New Lenox Township)
Marley @ 187th & Haas Road (New Lenox Township)
EMERGENCY ACTIVATION OF WARNING SYSTEMS FOR SEVERE WEATHER
During a severe weather incident, local warning systems should be activated if:
A tornado or funnel cloud aloft is reported within 10 miles of alert area. This 10 mile perimeter, at minimum, should be extended geographically around the perimeter of the farthest edges of the area being alerted.
A trained municipal employee, trained Skywarn Weather Spotter or Police or Fire personnel report a confirmed sighting of a tornado, or funnel cloud aloft.
If New Lenox Township is in the path of a tornado which has touched down and is moving towards New Lenox Township.
If Police, ESDA, or Fire personnel request the activation of the system due to severity of storm which could indicate the possibility of a tornado.
When reported that a tornado has touched down in New Lenox Township.
Any time the National Weather Service advises, " take cover" which addresses New Lenox Township.
To alert the public if it is necessary to evacuate an area. (Hazmat, Flooding, Public Safety, etc.)
An unconfirmed sighting is a report that is received from one or more members of the general public and no severe weather is obvious and the National Weather Service has issued no weather watch or warning. A radio-dispatched vehicle should be dispatched to investigate the unconfirmed report and determine the validity of the report.
Following the occurrence of a weather event meeting the criteria the Lincoln Way Public Safety Communications Center will activate the outdoor warning system. Once activated, the warning system should not be re-sounded for the same storm or sighting.
The warning system should be re-sounded for any new confirmed sighting that meets the activation criteria described above.
Whenever the siren is activated for a weather event, the on-duty dispatcher shall notify the local radio station as soon as possible so the information can be broadcast to local residents.
ALL CLEAR PROCEDURE
In keeping with the policy of the National Weather Service, the issuance of an "all clear" statement will not be issued by the local government.
Severe weather watches, whether severe thunderstorm or tornado, are traditionally issued for a period of 6 hours. The Weather Service may terminate a "watch" early if weather conditions change and the threat of severe weather conditions no longer exists.
Severe weather warnings, whether severe thunderstorms or tornado, are traditionally issued for a period of 1 hour. Warnings are usually allowed to expire on their own, without early termination by the Weather Service.
Residents requesting "all clear" information should be advised to monitor commercial radio and television for further weather information, but local government will not issue an "all clear" statement.
No activation of outdoor warning signals should be used to signify the "watch" termination or any kind of "all clear" advisory.