Happy Spring Time from the 9-1-1 Communications Center
Spring is fast approaching and so is the severe weather! Along with the police and fire department, we in the Communications Center are anticipating the stormy months ahead. In 2012, the National Weather Service recorded 39 tornado sightings and 14 actual tornadoes for the state of Illinois. April 27, 2011 was marked the deadliest tornado day in the United States since the 1925. With that being said, we would like to provide you with a few tips to help keep you safe and informed when that stormy weather does indeed hit our area.
First, the tornado sirens are tested monthly; the first Tuesday of every month at 10am. If you hear the sirens at any other time it is safe to assume it’s the real thing! The Communications Center only activates the sirens under severe weather circumstances; this includes tornado sightings and touchdowns that are called in by trained weather spotters or Joliet City Personnel. It is the City of Joliet’s policy that we do not activate the sirens when citizens call and say that “they think they see a funnel cloud or tornado.” What does happen when the communications center receives a funnel cloud sighting from a citizen that is not a trained weather spotter is that it is investigated by Joliet Police and Fire Department personnel on duty that day. An on duty police officer will be sent to the called in area to investigate if it is indeed a funnel cloud that was spotted. We take everyone’s complaints seriously!
Secondly, when the sirens are activated they need to be activated for five minutes. The sirens will go off three times, two minutes for each cycle. The sirens are set off for the whole city - not by area. The City of Joliet expands over two counties, so even if the storm has already passed your residence, it may not have passed through the rest of the city. Also remember the City of Joliet and Will County does not have an all clear siren.
When you hear the sirens, the National Weather Service, Will County Emergency Management Agency and the City of Joliet suggest that you seek shelter immediately! If you hear a neighboring town’s sirens act immediately, the rule of thumb is that if you can hear the siren then you are in an area of danger. The Joliet Communications Center asks that city employees as well as the public follow the below two simple rules when severe weather hits our area:
- Do not call 911, the police department or fire department for updated weather information. Only call if you have been impacted by the storm. Turn on your local radio station or television to track the progress of the severe weather.
- Turn on your city issued radio. Updated weather conditions are given out city wide, this information will be the most current.
If you don’t have a city radio immediate information is given out on WJOL (1340am), WCCQ (98.3fm), WSSR (96.7fm) & WRXQ (100.7fm). The weather channel is now offering free text message alerts as well. Go to https://registration.weather.com/ursa/alerts/step1 select your options and sign up!
If you are unable to get to a radio and are stuck at a computer terminal check out www.catonfarm.com. This website provides up-to-the-minute live weather information and even webcams that give live views from Plainfield Central High School, Taft School and Minooka Community High School.
By all means, we always encourage 911 calls if you have indeed do have an emergency and need assistance, but 911 is not the number to call for information. We ask when you do call you remain calm, give your complete address, name, call back number and clearly state your emergency. Remember the more information we get from you the faster we can send you help.
Thank you and have a safe spring and summer!
Joliet 9-1-1 Communications Center