WOOD RIVER – The Wood River Fire Department has announced a collective policy for the Wood River Consolidated Communications Center (9-1-1), in reference to the activation of the community warning system – storm sirens in the event of severe weather.
ESDA coordinators from Wood River, East Alton, Roxana, South Roxana, Hartford, Bethalto, and Rosewood Heights have developed this policy based on new guidance from the St. Louis National Weather Service.
The area ESDA coordinators said the purpose of the revised policy is the new addition or storm classification of Destructive Thunderstorms.
"These severe weather events are capable of producing 80+ mph winds and 2.75” (baseball-sized) hail," Wood River Fire Chief Wade Stahlhut said. "The community warning system – storm sirens will now be activated when the St. Louis National Weather Service issues a Destructive Thunderstorm or Tornado Warning for any or all of the communities involved.
"The activation of the system will be based on the St. Louis National Weather Service warning polygon or projected path of these severe weather events. Early community notification is imperative for the safety and well-being of all communities served by the Wood River Consolidated Communications Center.
“In the event the St. Louis National Weather Service issues a Destructive Thunderstorm and/or Tornado Warning, and the warning polygon identifies any of our communities, the storm sirens will be activated in those areas affected."
Chief Stahlhut added: "In the event the storm sirens are activated we strongly encourage our citizens to seek shelter immediately, preferably in a basement, and to stay away from windows and doors until the storms pass. If you do not have a basement seek the safety of an interior room or bathroom. It is very important for everyone to have a plan and be prepared in the event of severe weather.”
East Alton Fire Chief Tim Quigley said he was very supportive of the new collective warning system.
"The sirens system give your residents a warning that a destructive storm is coming and it will help save lives," the chief said. "These storms we are talking about could wipe a house."
Chief Quigley mentioned that all the area departments work so well together on mutual aid dispatches and this is just another way to complement one another.
"Our dispatch does a good job getting notices out to everybody and they work very well together, Quigley said. "Local volunteer departments also do an excellent job. These sirens are created for people outside to get in a safe area and get out of the storm."
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact the ESDA coordinators or Wood River Consolidated Communications Center supervisor Stahlhut.
The ESDA coordinators below are contacts for any further information: