Tamaroa installs new high tech storm siren hoping to save lives

Tamaroa installs new high tech storm siren hoping to save lives
By: Arnold Wyrick
TAMAROA, Ill. - For many communities throughout southern Illinois the sound of a storm siren is all they have to let residents know to seek shelter from severe weather.  And now the folks in one Perry County Illinois town can rest assured their going to be forewarned before  a tornado hits their town.

That's because the town recently installed a new siren at their fire department. "The old siren got knocked out by lightening.  And it was mainly used for signaling fire fighters for fire calls and rescue missions.  The new siren is a duel tone," says Tamaroa Firefighter Mike Davison.

Tamaroa has seen it's share of emergencies over the years, a train derailment sent folks fleeing for safety in 2003.  Then a tornado tore parts of the town apart in 2004.

Now with their new warning system even those people living on the outskirts of the town will hear the siren. "The old one probably didn't go out a half-a-mile.  And the new one it has a four mile radius, in a full 360 degrees," Davison said.

Some residents say it's about time the town put in a better system. "You didn't hear anything here until it's almost too late.  Then you'd have to get up and run.  You can definitely hear this one," says Alan Anselment of Tamaroa. "I'm very glad we've got it.   I feel like it will make us a lot safer here in Tamaroa," says Sharon Hagston.

And the new siren cost the town a lot less then early estimates which were more than $20,000. City leaders were able to contact the Colorado company directly and get their new warning system for half that price. "If we can just get four or five minutes of early warning before a tornado actually comes our way, then we're going to save a lot of lives," Davison said.

The fire department plans to conduct an official test of their new system in a couple of weeks once it's all tied into Perry County's 911 system.