The Village of Plainfield and the Plainfield Emergency Management Agency currently maintain and
operate 14 warning sirens within the village limits. Although these sirens are typically utilized
during severe weather events, they are also capable of being activated during other major
emergencies to alert the public to possible or imminent threatening conditions. Some of the
situations where the sirens may be activated would include the confirmed sighting of a funnel
cloud or tornado; a major incident involving evacuation such as a Hazardous Material incident,
or terrorism type incident.
Many times people say they did not hear a siren in their house or inside a building they may be
in. The primary purpose of a warning siren is to alert those people that may be working outdoors
or away from a building, and may not have immediate access to other warning devices such as a
television or radio. Although sirens may be heard within a respective structure or building
(depending on the construction of the building, distance from the siren, and wind direction)
the belief is those people inside a building will primarily receive their warning and updates
through the use of a radio, television, or other weather alerting devices.
Warning sirens are always tested at 10:00am on the first Tuesday of each month (unless the
possibility of threatening weather is already present). The sirens may be activated in several
ways. The basic principle behind the operation of the warning sirens involves the use of radio
frequencies. Normally the sirens are activated at a central or alternate activation point by
entering a predetermined code. The code in turn sends out a radio frequency, which travels to
the various receiver sights (warning sirens). Once the site receives the code and determines it
is the activation code the siren will begin to sound. The typical alerting evolution lasts
between 3 and 5 minutes.
Another question normally asked about warning sirens is; “What do I do when I hear the warning
siren?”. Typically public safety officials witness people do the two things you should absolutely
not do when a warning siren activates:
* DO NOT go outside and look to the sky for threatening weather
* DO NOT call 911 to see why the sirens are activated.
When the warning sirens are activated, people should immediately turn either their radio/television
or weather alerting radio to the designated emergency broadcast channel. If possible take the
radio with you and seek shelter in a basement or other secure are of the building you are in.
Listen to the instructions on the radio. Only call 911 if you have emergency information to pass
along to emergency responders, such as the sighting, direction/movement or any damage/injuries
associated with a tornado or funnel cloud, or other similar information.
Lastly, you should know that an “All Clear” signal will NOT be transmitted by the warning
sirens. You should listen to the radio/television to get this information.
If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to the warning sirens in Plainfield, you may
contact Police Chief and EMA Director John Konopek at his office (815) 439-4803.