Fairview Heights is getting a new warning siren system to replace the aged system that didn't always work correctly.
The new $199,800 system includes four sirens that will replace the city's current 12 sirens. The audio output for the new siren system will provide outdoor warning coverage for the entire city, according to Fairview Heights Assistant Police Chief Capt. Chris Locke. Locke is the city's Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator.
Last March, nine out of the 12 sirens did not work during the monthly test. A faulty transmitter was found to be the cause and was replaced by a temporary transmitter.
The city budgeted $200,000 for a new system that will meet new Homeland Security standards. Some of the sirens in the old system are at least 25 years old and newer technology was needed. Placement of the new sirens has not yet been determined, according to Locke.
"The biggest difference is the new siren system has a visual (lighting) alert on each of them in addition to the audible tone," Locke stated.
"The audio output, or range, of the new siren is much greater than the existing system. The new system will have a status feedback system which provides the ability to silently test the sirens to ensure the system is functioning as it should without disturbing the public."
The sirens will be tested daily on the silent mode, and an audible test will be done at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. In addition to sounding a variety of warning tones, the new system will also be able to deliver live public addresses or pre-recorded voice messages in emergency situations.
The siren system is designed to alert the public of emergencies when they are outdoors and away from other means of communication. For residents who want to stay updated on emergencies or weather events in Fairview Heights, the city has a free Code Red system that will send a text, e-mail or phone call about emergencies, weather events or missing children to residents who signed up for it.
"We encourage residents to utilize as many methods as possible due to the possibility of one or more avenues to receive information being impacted by a storm or other disaster not being available," Locke said. "Some of the options are smart phone apps, CodeRed, local television stations, weather radios, as well as an outdoor warning system."
Those interested in signing up for CodeRed can visit the city's website at fairviewheightscity.com or the police department's website at www.fhpd.org/codered/php.
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2667.