Fire Sirens vs. Tornado Sirens - Do You Know The Difference? - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Fire Sirens vs. Tornado Sirens - Do You Know The Difference?

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NORTH PEKIN, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Sirens sounded in North Pekin Saturday; but it wasn't because of the severe weather.

In fact, these sirens weren't weather sirens; instead, fire sirens.

The sound residents heard was actually a dispatch for the North Pekin Volunteer Fire Department.

Fire Chief Chad Plemons says the siren has served for years as a way to call out the department for an emergency.

It just so happened that severe weather was moving through the area Saturday.

"Some of the communities have gotten away from fire sirens ... Some still have them. They come in handy when the firefighter is outside ... mowing his lawn or something and he can't hear his pager ... he'll hear that siren" Plemons said.
However, someone can occasionally get confused by the two sounds.

Plemons wants to make sure residents aren't alarmed by the fire sirens.

He says the fire siren will "go off for four rounds and has an up and down tone to it. The weather siren will go off one solid sound, it's a lot higher pitched sound, so there's a difference when the two go off."

But, most residents know the two different sounds.

Ten-year-old Alainie Hazlett has known for a long time what the two sounds mean.

She said a couple years ago there was a tornado, and that's how she learned what it actually sounded like. She also learned it at her school.

If you live in a community that has both a fire and a tornado siren (such as North Pekin), officials say the best things you can do are to know the difference between the two,and to be ready when severe weather strikes.

"If you hear what you think is a weather siren going off, check your weather radio, your local TV stations and see if there's anything being broadcasted" said Plemons.

However, North Pekin isn't the only community that has a fire siren.

Nearby Marquette Heights also utilizes the technology, along with several other communities in central Illinois.

It's also important to remember tornado sirens in Illinois are tested the first Tuesday of each month.

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