What Do They Mean and What Should You Do?
The sirens are designed to alert people who are outside their homes of approaching danger.
They are not designed to alert people on the inside of their home. They are one part of a three-part system where the NOAA alert radio and the news media make up the other two components of the emergency notification system.
The appropriate response is to move inside and get information on the approaching hazard and directions for the appropriate actions to take. NOAA broadcasts the hazard information and the protective actions over the alert radio, and by the media over some radio and television stations.
The South Holland Emergency Warning System is sounded whenever a tornado warning is issued within 20 miles or a funnel cloud has been seen in the area. Once the Tornado Warning has been issued, the sirens will activate for three minutes followed by silence for seven minutes. This activation cycle will continue until the weather warning is cancelled. When the weather warning has been cancelled, the sirens will no longer activate.
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or is eminent. Seek safety and move to a safe place immediately.
In a Tornado Watch, the conditions are favorable for a tornado. Listen to your local radio or television station for further details. Be prepared to move to a safe place.
The outdoor warning sirens are tested the first Tuesday of each month at 10:00am, weather permitting. During this test, the sirens are activated for 30 seconds. The sirens are not tested during potential bad weather to avoid confusion.
An NOAA alert radio is especially important during the times you are indoors and do not have the television or radio on. It sounds a tone for about 20 seconds and then announces what danger is imminent and the protective actions to take.
Note that the radio is no longer called a “Weather Alert Radio”. Instead, it is called an “Alert Radio”. The difference is that the radio will now alert for dangerous conditions other that just weather. One example might be a hazardous spill that may be sending a toxic plume toward a populated area. The newer radios are programmable for the types of hazards for which you want to be warned, and your county of residence. By limiting the hazards and counties, the programmable radios do not alert you to impending danger not in the area.
If you do not have a NOAA alert radio we highly recommend that you invest in one. No matter which brand you get we recommend a model that can be programmed for specific counties and specific hazards.