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Decatur Upgrades Tornado Siren and Donates Old Siren to Gifford

Updated: Tuesday, July 22 2014, 11:17 PM CDT

One central Illinois
town is offering a helping hand to another. When the village of Gifford was

by an EF 3
tornado in November, it lost outdoor warning sirens. Now the City of Decatur is
turning its regular maintenance into a way to help. Decatur is starting a cycle
of upgrading its outdoor warning sirens, and it’s first replaced siren is
heading to Gifford.

The scene in Gifford after the November tornado outbreak was
dire. Many of the town's tornado sirens were lost in the storm. Now, months
later the community is still rebuilding and asking for help.

"Gifford put out a request for any equipment or any
donations that would help their city. I think it came through the fire
department they requested a tornado siren and we're trying to replace one a
year so...we had one," Jerry Nihiser, Decatur Traffic and Parking
Supervisor, explained.

The donation comes with a condition; the siren will need
some repairs. Since the city of Decatur came up with the $23,000 to replace one
siren this year, they're able to give the one they replaced away.

A family living next to the new siren said they're proud the
city could help out.

"I think it's great to help out a community that really
[doesn't] have it together to keep them aware," Christopher Byrd said.

Christopher Byrd and his father Michael shared the

"That's good, I think, helping someone out,"
Michael said.

The family hopes the comfort this siren provides them will
be spread to families in Gifford who are without several of their sirens.

"When I instantly hear it I stop doing what I'm doing
right then and there. I kind of am glad my dad moved over here in this area
because every time we have a storm this siren always goes off," Christopher
Byrd said. 

Decatur is in a cycle of replacing one warning siren per
year. Each year, the siren that's had the most problems will be cycled out, so
upgrades go on a constant cycle.

The two remaining sirens in Gifford were malfunctioning
earlier this year. Again, the donated siren will need some work before it's
ready to go, but will help the village fill gaps in their warning system.

Decatur Upgrades Tornado Siren and Donates Old Siren to Gifford

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