The following points provide information to common questions often asked in regards to outdoor weather warning systems. Share these tips with your families, and practice a tornado drill in your home this week. Knowing the basics of tornado safety can help you to survive a tornado event.
Why are they called outdoor warning sirens?
The sirens are called outdoor warning sirens because their primary purpose is to alert people who are outside to severe weather. The system is not designed to provide notification inside of your home or business. The location, design and performance of the siren system is intended to provide a warning to people who are outdoors to take cover.
What should I do if I hear an outdoor warning siren?
If you hear an outdoor warning siren you should seek shelter inside immediately according to your family's emergency plan. Once inside, you should turn on a television or radio to learn further information. Local officials will be disseminating information about the emergency through these outlets.
What can I do to be notified of an impending tornado inside my home or business?
Every home or business should be equipped with a NOAA Weather Radio. In the event of a watch or warning, most NOAA Weather Radios sound an alarm and turn on automatically. When they are not dispensing watch and warning information, these valuable tools will provide you with detailed forecast information. Many NOAA Weather Radios are equipped with digital S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoding) technology. This allows the radio to be programmed to receive automatic warnings specific to Bureau County. For more information regarding NOAA Weather Radios go to http://www.weather.gov/nwr/
When are outdoor warning sirens activated?
The outdoor warning sirens are activated when a public safety officer (police, fire or EMS) or trained spotter reports SIGHTING a funnel cloud or tornado in or near the City of Princeton. The sirens are also activated under the following provisions:
When should I expect to hear testing of the outdoor warning sirens?
The Severe Weather/ Outdoor Warning System shall be tested every first Tuesday at 10:00 AM during every month. Tests will not be conducted if weather is inclimate or official warnings and watches are active. Active siren tests will be initiated during the months of April through October. Silent siren tests will be initiated during the months of November through March. The sirens produce a loud steady tone during the monthly test as well as during an actual tornado warning.
What is the difference between a Watch and a Warning?
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that severe weather is possible. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that severe weather is in the immediate area.
A Tornado Watch means that conditions are present that could produce a tornado. A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted, and that you should prepare to seek shelter. The sirens will only be activated for a tornado warning or if a trained spotter reports a funnel cloud or an actual tornado.
In either case, listen to local radio or television for updates.
Will the sirens provide an "All Clear" signal?
No. If the City of Princeton is threatened by a tornado, the sirens will be activated. Any "ALL CLEAR" information is provided by the local news media. The sirens will NOT be activated to indicate an "ALL CLEAR".
Where are the sirens located?
The sirens are strategically located to provide the optimal coverage area for all City residents. The City has 7 sirens locations:
City of Princeton Siren Coverage Map
(Click on Map to zoom)
Click here to download a copy of the map.
Where can I get more information when the sirens are activated?
The area media and the National Weather Service will provide updated information. Please do NOT call 911 or the fire department when you hear the siren. Please use your television or radio to get these updates.
Where do I go in case of a tornado?
If a tornado has been sighted, take cover in the safest place possible. A basement is always the first choice.
What can I do to prepare for emergencies?
The fire department has compiled a Citizen's Emergency Preparedness Guide to help Princeton residents prepare for natural and/or man-made disasters.
Where can I get more information?
American Red Cross - www.redcross.org
Ready.gov - www.ready.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - www.fema.gov
Illinois Emergency Management Agency - www.state.il.us/iema/disaster/disaster.htm
FEMA for kids - Tornadoes - www.fema.gov/kids/tornado.htm
National Weather Service - www.nws.noaa.gov
Severe Storms - Definitions, Information, Safety (USA Today) - www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/2006-04-03-tornado-basics_x.htm