The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

May 12, 2013

Technology available to improve local warning system

DANVILLE — For the longest time, weather sirens have been as much a part of severe storms in Vermilion County as thunder and lightning.

Continuing advances in communications technology, however, could eventually silence the sirens.

Currently, 40 weather sirens are set up throughout Vermilion County to warn residents of impending severe weather. But a number of variables have interrupted the sirens’ signal to residents.

“They were refitted for weather warnings but now there’s probably not five percent of the population that hears an outdoor weather siren when we set them off,” said Ted Fisher, director of the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency. “Everybody’s inside, their houses are well insulated. It’s an inside society.”

The sirens are owned by the individual cities and villages in the county. The county’s EMA makes the decision on when to set them off.

Many of the sirens are going on 35-40 years in age and, on average, a new siren can cost as much as $20,000. For that same amount, Fisher estimates he could move on to new technology and operate a text alert system in Vermilion County for up to eight months.

According to Fisher, the county is moving into the next generation of notification setups sooner rather than later with plans to ramp up use of its current Nixle system.

Both the county and the City of Danville set up accounts through Nixle LLC, a company specializing in notifications on a variety of levels for organizations throughout the country.

“There are all types of emergency notification,” Fisher said. “Companies are jumping on the bandwagon, running all kinds of different prices, usually 5 cents per text on up. Or you can buy your own in-house system, but that costs a lot of money.”

Nixle — which Fisher said has become popular — originally was brought in by Danville police and the county EMA in June 2009. The system set up by Nixle allows officials to issue text or e-mail messages ranging from weather alerts and missing children reports to warnings about possible traffic congestion because of accidents or construction.

Neither Nixle account has been used to a great extent since that time, with Fisher noting the county only received a little more than 300 sign-ups for its notifications.

Now, Fisher said the county wants to become more active in using the Nixle account and look at expanding the capabilities in the future.

That expansion would include sending out location-specific notifications for residents, allowing residents in Ridge Farm to not receive messages regarding storms passing through Rankin or Hoopeston and vice versa.

The system, once enhanced, might also be able circumvent the problem of getting word out to those who do not have a computer or cellular phone. Notifications of severe weather could also be sent to land line phones in which the warning is read over the phone.

Text Only
Local News
  • City to discuss chicken ordinance, animal control DANVILLE -- Residents love their pets -- ranging from the furry to feathered kind -- and let city officials know about it. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said two of the biggest issues he's received phone calls about since he's been mayor have been about the

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN0420 - Vignette2 image Danville thrift store glass gets a second life Chris Moore of Danville admits he's never been known as an artistic person among friends and family. But after seeing some glass garden decorations at a landscaping business about a year ago, something clicked and he decided to try his hand at creati

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three injured in shooting on east side DANVILLE -- Police have made one arrest in connection with a triple shooting incident Friday night on the city's east side. Police and emergency personnel responded around 6:30 p.m. Friday to the 1000 block of Moore Street to reports of shots fire. T

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN 0420 - Vignette3 image Odds and ends turn into great useful objects Four Danville Area Community College students took some wooden pallets, a used tire, two broken clocks and a fallen tree limb and created four completely usable objects that will be entered in the college's Trash to Treasures repurposing challenge on

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - CN0420 - Repurpose5 image Trash into treasure What started out as an idea for a class project quickly snowballed into a campuswide initiative at Danville Area Community College, with the results being on display this week. To mark Earth Day this year, the Biology Department and the Sustainabilit

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - CN0420 - Rock Church cross image Floral cross celebrates Easter DANVILLE — A cross at The Rock Church is blooming with the beauty of spring and the promise of Easter.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 04-20 Vignette1 image Couple creates rustic salvaged furniture Kim Hannah of Danville has been salvaging and reusing materials -- most notably barn wood -- for close to two decades. Hannah has sold her handmade crafts and primitive, rustic furniture made of salvaged barn wood at shows around the Midwest for 18 y

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’ Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’

    A benefit last month raised $771, which was donated to Wagons for Warriors.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Latest ‘Genealogist’ mailed to members

    The most recent issue of the Illiana Genealogical & Historical Society’s quarterly publication, “Illiana Genealogist,” (Spring 2014, Vol. 50, No. 1) has been mailed to the society’s members.

    April 20, 2014

  • Musician collects novelty radios Musician collects novelty radios

    Remember that old saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck? Well, that reasoning gets turned on its head when one enters Bill Montgerard’s Danville home.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NCAA basketball
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Must Read