Spring's arrival marks a welcome change of seasons, but also rapidly changing meteorological conditions ideal for the threat of severe weather. Residents must prepare for and be alert to these conditions and know what to do when they occur. Being aware of when and where to seek shelter during extreme weather events can save lives when seconds count.
Members of Downers Grove's Public Safety Team have been visiting area schools this month to educate students on the importance of being prepared, including what to do when they hear an outdoor emergency siren. The purpose of the sirens is to alert those who are outdoors to the threat of danger due to weather conditions or a National Emergency. If you are indoors you may not hear the siren. Be alert to changing weather conditions when severe weather is imminent by monitoring broadcast radio or television stations. There are also a variety of weather apps available for smart phone users.
Effective immediately, the Village is now using the county-wide guidelines for the activation of outdoor sirens that have been developed to achieve consistency in the event that multiple jurisdictions activate warning sirens. The following will be used to determine if the sirens should be activated:
- A confirmed sighting of a tornado, tracking toward the community, is reported by a trained weather spotter within the community or surrounding communities.
- The National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Downers Grove.
- Confirmed reports of significant storm damage in the community.
The siren sound means Take Shelter Now, so please don't ignore it. The emergency is not over when the sirens stop and there will be no "all clear siren". Do not call 9-1-1 when you hear a siren. It is important that communications lines remain free to respond to emergency reports.
The new guidelines are being adopted by the communities which surround Downers Grove and have been endorsed by the DuPage County Associations of Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs and Emergency Management Coordinators. Members of the Village staff played leadership roles in the county-wide effort to develop activation guidelines that was sparked by a series of severe storms in June and July of 2011.
- Severe Weather and Outdoor Emergency Sirens
- DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- Illinois Emergency Management Association
- Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA)
- American Red Cross