Life Amplified

Outdoor Warning Sirens

sirenPicture2The Village of Tinley Park operates 13 outdoor warning sirens, which are strategically placed throughout the Village. These sirens form an overlapping pattern to effectively alert the public to emergencies such as tornadoes, chemical spills and evacuations.

All older sirens and new installs were upgraded to provide for remote monitoring and computer control from the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center. Most are either located at sites where they have emergency backup generators or they have battery backup controls so that sirens can still be activated in the event of a power failure.

The Village tests its outdoor warning sirens at 10:30 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month, so if it's testing time and the weather is clear, it's just a test. 

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.

Important: The Village does NOT sound an "all-clear" signal. If the sirens are activated again, it generally is because a new threat or warning has been issued. A secondary activation does not mean it is safe to come out of shelter areas.

The purpose of 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
NOAA image
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.