Old siren to be used for weather alerts
WHITE HEATH — An old siren that in the past alerted Mid-Piatt firefighters to emergency calls will be repurposed to serve as an emergency weather siren for the White Heath area.
The Sangamon Township Board of Trustees voted to spend $3,000 on a computer interface that will allow Piatt County dispatchers to remotely operate the siren, which is located at the Mid-Piatt Fire Station in White Heath.
The original role of the siren had been to call firefighters to the station, but pagers and cellphones now accomplish that purpose.
With central Illinois getting its share of tornado activity on a yearly basis, Sangamon Township Supervisor Ray Spencer thinks it is money well spent.
"We feel that if even a single life is saved, it is worth the cost, especially with the grade school in town. Also, it is a one-time cost, no monthly charges," Spencer said.
The board originally looked into putting up a new siren, but Spencer said cost estimates were $20,000, "so we decided to do what we could afford."
He added that White Heath is one of the only sizable communities in the county without an operating alert siren. It will basically serve White Heath, but the township is researching the possibility of more sirens for rural areas of the township.
Township trustees John Foley, Bill Olson, Elsie Robinson and Steve Harper voted unanimously to approve the purchase. Global Technical Systems of Decatur should have the interface installed within 30 days.