Elk Grove Village Officials Announce Scrutiny Over NWCDS Tornado Warning Sirens


Elk Grove Village published three notices to residents regarding scrutiny of the Tornado Siren system that is activated by Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) — the agency responsible for activating the tornado sirens. Elk Grove Village notified resident with three posts this week on the official Elk Grove Village website.

First, Elk Grove Village announced they are seeking answers regarding the failure of the failure of the outdoor tornado warning sirens Sunday night June 20, 2021 when a Tornado Warning was active.

Then Elk Grove Village posted a second message on Thursday, June 24, 2021 when sirens were activated accidentally. Elk Grove Village acted rapidly to advise residents of a false alarm for activation that occurred when there was no active tornado warning. The sirens were activated about 1:10 p.m. Thursday, June 24, 2021 and Elk Grove Village post a message in about 10 minutes that notified residents that the tornado warning system was activated in error by Northwest Central Dispatch.

A third post later Thursday afternoon provided more detail about the accidental activation.

Village Officials seek review of NWCDS Emergency Alert System after failure of outdoor tornado warning sirens

Post Date:06/22/2021 3:00 PM

Elk Grove Village officials are seeking answers from the emergency communications agency responsible for activating sirens after the failure of outdoor tornado warning sirens to sound during Sunday night’s severe weather event.

Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS), the agency that provides 911 and emergency communications services to eleven communities in the northwest suburbs, has briefed Elk Grove officials on the incident and is conducting its own review to determine why the sirens did not sound. NWCDS staff followed standard activation procedures for the sirens after the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area at 10:44 pm Sunday night.

The NWCDS review of the incident seeks to identify why the sirens did not sound despite being activated in Elk Grove Village and portions of Mount Prospect. The review includes interviewing personnel responsible for activating the sirens and working with the manufacturer of the sirens to ensure they are in working order. NWCDS tested the connection between the activation system and the sirens on Monday, and it performed as it should.

As NWCDS completes its review, the Village is also exploring the possibility of additional redundancies to ensure that when the six outdoor tornado alert sirens located in Elk Grove Village are activated, they work as intended. While no tornado touched down in the Village Sunday night, Elk Grove Village posted on the village website that officials want to take every necessary step to ensure that the alert system does its job effectively every time it’s needed.

“While there are several means of notifying residents about oncoming severe weather, many of our residents rely on the air sirens as an indication to seek shelter immediately. That system needs to work every time in order for it to be effective. Failure of the system is unacceptable by Elk Grove standards and the system must work 100% of the time to protect our residents to the utmost safety to which they are entitled,” said Mayor Craig Johnson. “We’re working with the Northwest Central Dispatch System to determine what went wrong in order to ensure it never happens again!”

The Village encourages all residents to pay close attention to alerts from smartphones, television and radio broadcast, and weather radios—in addition to the outdoor air sirens—during severe weather events. These different type of alerts, help create a multi-system redundancy to ensure residents receive severe weather warnings. Such alerts also often contain useful information and instructions that residents can take to keep their families and homes safe.

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Tornado Warning System Activated in Error by NWCDS

Post Date:06/24/2021 1:30 PM
June 24, 2021 (1:20 p.m.)

The tornado warning system was activated in error by Northwest Central Dispatch. There is no active tornado warning for the Elk Grove Village area at this time. We apologize for any confusion.

NWCDS Sirens Activated in Error, Affecting Several Northwest Suburban Communities

Post Date:06/24/2021 3:45 PM

Village officials are once again are seeking a full explanation from Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) leadership today following the accidental activation of air raid signals shortly after 1 pm today. The incident comes just days after the failure of outdoor tornado warning sirens in Elk Grove Village and portions of Mount Prospect to sound during Sunday night’s severe weather event.

The outdoor air raid signals were set off in error in several communities throughout the northwest suburbs including Buffalo Grove, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood.

The erroneous signal, which took place during a time when inclement weather was approaching the region, caused confusion among residents in these communities. Elk Grove Village officials report that they began receiving phone calls from concerned residents after the signals sounded.

The Village posted messages immediately on its social media channels and website informing residents that there was, in fact, no severe weather warning and that the sirens were set off in error by NWCDS.

“To have system failures twice in less than one week is unacceptable because residents are looking to us for guidance, information and advice on how to keep themselves safe during weather emergencies. When they do, we need to be right every time,” said Mayor Johnson. “We cannot afford to have repeated incidents that shake the confidence in the system among our residents. That said, I know that NWCDS officials are equally concerned about the errors and they will be working closely with its member communities to get things back on track.”

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