You are the owner of this article.
Now hear this: Bloomington Fire Department wants siren with voice capability
featured

Now hear this: Bloomington Fire Department wants siren with voice capability

{{featured_button_text}}
030620-blm-loc-1siren

An outdoor warning siren with public address capability has a commanding presence atop the Children's Discovery Museum in uptown Normal on Thursday, March 5, 2020. The Bloomington Fire Department wants to install a similar siren with voice capability on the roof of the Government Center in downtown Bloomington.

BLOOMINGTON — If people need to get in from outside in the event of an emergency in downtown Bloomington, the fire department wants to let people know with specific voice directions in addition to the blare of a siren.

The Bloomington Fire Department wants to install an outdoor warning siren with public address capability on the roof of the Government Center, 115 E. Washington St., Bloomington.

"We would like increased capacity to provide information in case we need to direct people to safety," Fire Chief Brian Mohr told The Pantagraph.

Mohr provided information about the i-Force Electronic Siren to the McLean County Board Property Committee on Thursday afternoon. The Government Center is owned by the Public Building Commission but McLean County government and the city of Bloomington lease space.

Property Committee Chairman Josh Barnett told The Pantagraph he and his family are among Central Illinoisans who support the farmers market and other festivals downtown.

"Having this added safety broadcast capability will help to ensure a better experience for all in case of inclement weather or other emergencies," Barnett said.

Bloomington has 18 outdoor warning sirens throughout the city, including one on the roof of the former State Farm building across Washington Street from the Government Center, Mohr said.

030620-blm-loc-2siren

An emergency siren with voice notification, atop the Children's Discovery Museum, looks out over uptown Normal on Thursday, March 5, 2020. The Bloomington Fire Department wants to install a similar siren on the roof of the Government Center to provide specific directions in case of an emergency in downtown Bloomington.

"The communication with the new owners (of the former State Farm building) is that siren could stay for the time being," Mohr said.

The 18 sirens emit sound for a severe weather alert and in the event of a military attack. They are tested the first Tuesday of each month.

The public address capability would allow the McLean County Emergency Management Agency or emergency management with the city of Bloomington to broadcast a recorded voice message to urge people to seek shelter and would also allow a live voice warning with specific directions if needed, Mohr said.

While the siren would be used most likely in a severe weather emergency such as a tornado, it also could be used for other emergencies, he said.

Given the number of downtown events, such as the farmers market, in addition to the number of people downtown on a regular basis, including people waiting for buses in front of the McLean County Law and Justice Center, locating the new siren downtown makes sense, Mohr said.

The voice feature would be audible within several blocks of the Government Center.

Mohr expects the siren with the public address capability to cost about $30,000. While it's in the fire department's budget for the fiscal year that ends April 30, the city of Bloomington would need to give final approval of the project, he said.

030620-blm-loc-3siren

An emergency siren with voice notification, shown atop the Children's Discovery Museum in uptown Normal on Thursday, March 5, 2020, was built by ASC Mass Notification Solutions. Bloomington firefighters want to install a similar system in downtown Bloomington.

He hopes to install the new siren before the end of summer.

Normal has 11 outdoor warning sirens and has had one with a public address capability since June 2018 on the roof of the Children's Discovery Museum in uptown Normal, said Matt Swaney, Normal Fire Department public information officer.

"If there's a festival uptown and there's an emergency, such as a tornado, we can ... direct people to specific locations to seek shelter," Swaney said.

"It's nice to know it's available if we need it," he said.

Coverage of Lincoln plane crash

COLLECTION: Coverage of Lincoln plane crash

Contact Paul Swiech at 309-820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech.

0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News