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      Pittsfield to add two new emergency sirens

      Pittsfield's adding two new emergency sirens

      The city of Pittsfield, Illinois wants to ensure all its residents can be warned before a tornado strikes.

      Pittsfield already has two sirens in the downtown, but neither are loud enough to reach residents in the north and west end of the city.

      The threat of a tornado is an issue most residents in Pittsfield try to be prepared for.

      Pittsfield already has one siren in the middle of the downtown area on its water tower and a second one next to the high school. But Alderman Ed Knight said the sirens can't be heard by residents on the west and north side of the city.

      "Our old sirens reached out roughly a quarter of a mile in diameter," Knight said.

      That's why the city's Aldermen voted to install two new sirens away from the downtown area.

      "We've been setting money aside for the last three or four years in preparations for the installation of the one at the west end of town," Knight said.

      Residents say the new sirens would allow residents a few extra minutes to seek shelter before a funnel cloud touches down.

      "It would be a big relief for you know, customers, any citizen in town to know a head of time that there might be something coming their way so they can seek shelter," Pittsfield Farm and Home Supply Assistant Manager Eric Naughton said.

      Recently, the city's aldermen applied for grant from the USDA to receive funds to pay for a second siren.

      "We applied for that with the hopes that we would be able to install one this year on the north edge of town also," Knight said.

      If the USDA approves the city's $12,000 dollar grant, a second siren will be installed at the city's sewage treatment plant.

      "And our new sirens will reach out a little more than a half mile in diameter," Knight said. "So we're able to cover a lot more ground with the new technology."

      Knight says even if the grant is not approved, the city's aldermen will still go ahead with their plans to install one on the west side.

      If the USDA approves the grant, aldermen expect both new sirens to be installed in the next two to three months.