Local

Fire district partners with neighbors to buy, install 4 outdoor warning sirens

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District recently announced new partnerships with McHenry Township, Nunda Township, the village of Holiday Hills, the village of Johnsburg and the village of Lakemoor, allowing for the purchase and installation of four additional outdoor warning sirens in the area protected by the fire district.

“We were pleased to work with the governments within our district to be able to purchase the new sirens together to provide better coverage for our residents in our 56-square-mile district,” Fire Chief Tony Huemann said. “It is not common for a fire district to take the lead in purchasing warning sirens. The MTFPD Board of Trustees identified the need for additional severe weather notification and directed staff to initiate a plan and to approach other government entities to potentially purchase multiple sirens. This directive resulted in a significant cost savings for the taxpayers throughout the fire district.”

The MTFPD signed intergovernmental agency agreements and shared the cost of the sirens located at Ringwood Road west of Pioneer Oaks, Ringwood Road west of Johnsburg Road, the Holiday Hills Village Hall and with the cooperation of the owner of the Pistakee Country Club as one of the sirens was located on their property.

“The outdoor warning sirens are part of a comprehensive approach towards mass alerting for tornado and severe weather events. Tornadoes are one of the most destructive severe weather events that often result in serious injuries and loss of life,” Huemann said. “With the addition of the new sirens strategically located throughout the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, we have achieved our goal of improving severe weather alerts.”

Nine total sirens have been purchased over the past three years. Three sirens were installed in 2017 and two sirens were installed in 2015. All nine sirens are connected to the city of McHenry dispatch center, where they can be activated simultaneously.

“We appreciate the strong cooperation from our partnering agencies that made this project a reality. The new sirens utilize current technology and improve alerting ability during a weather emergency,” Huemann said.

Residents should also incorporate other alerting methods such as monitoring the weather conditions from local news services, radio and television and purchasing a weather alert radio.

The outdoor warning sirens will be activated for a tornado warning issued for McHenry County and directly threatening the community. However, the warning sirens will not include an “all clear” siren tone and residents are urged to tune to local media for specific weather information.

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