You are here

Outdoor Disaster Warning Sirens

disaster sirenThe City of St. Charles’ Outdoor Disaster Warning System consists of a series of sirens strategically located throughout the City of St. Charles and is intended to provide warning of impending danger.

Warning System Activation

The City of St. Charles’s warning system is designed to notify the resident of TORNADO WARNING and ATTACK WARNING signals. These standardized warning signals, for outdoor warning devices, have been established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Tornado Warning Signal

A Tornado Warning Signal is a 3 to 5 minute steady siren. This signal is used during a severe weather incident. The disaster warning system will be activated when a tornado or funnel cloud is reported. This reporting includes a five-mile perimeter around the City. The Tornado Warning Signal indicates to all persons . . . “seek shelter and turn on your radio or television and listen for essential emergency information.”

Please note that severe weather or tornado watches are reports of weather conditions in which tornadoes could occur. The disaster warning system is NOT activated for severe weather watches or tornado watches.

Because tornadoes are common in our area, click here to read through this additional safety information, which includes explanations of Tornado Watch v. Warning, and frequently asked questions about tornado sirens.

Attack Warning Signal

An Attack Warning Signal is a 3 to 5 minute wavering siren. The Attack Warning Signal means that an actual attack or missile launch against the United States has been detected and that protective action should be taken immediately. The Attack Warning Signal shall be repeated as often as deemed necessary by the local government authorities to obtain the required response of the population including taking protective action related to the arrival of fallout. Per federal guidelines, “this signal will be used for no other purpose and will have no other meaning.”

For a well-balanced system, the use of indoor warning systems is necessary. This includes commercial broadcast radio, television stations, cable television override systems, tone-activated radio receivers, and public address systems within buildings.

Testing Times

First Tuesday of Every Month - 10 a.m.



It is extremely important that the City of St. Charles’ Disaster Warning System be tested on a regular schedule to insure proper operation, and to assist in educating the public to recognize the different warning signals.

As provided for in the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Act of 1988, the testing of the Disaster Warning System in the City of St. Charles will take place only on the first Tuesday of each month at 10:00 am. Testing may also occur during disaster training exercises that are specifically and expressly approved in advance by the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency and the St. Charles Emergency Services and Disaster Agency.

Federal and Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency guidelines indicate the monthly warning system test should occur in the following manner:

  1. 1 Minute of the Tornado Warning Signal (steady signal tone)
  2. 1 Minute of the Attack Warning Signal (wavering siren tone)

This testing procedure is different from that used in an actual emergency when the signals are sounded for 3 to 5 minutes.


Once it is activated the disaster warning system will not be reactivated for an all clear signal. The disaster warning system will be reactivated for new confirmed incidents.

Who will Issue the All Clear?

In keeping with the policy of the National Weather Service, the City of St. Charles does not issue an all clear advisory for any Tornado signal for a weather warning.

Residents requesting all clear information are advised to monitor commercial radio and television for further weather information.

Siren Locations

  1. Fifteenth and Indiana Streets
  2. Dunham Rd. and East Main Street
  3. Tri-Com Facility @ Lincoln Highway (Route 38) and Karl Madsen Drive
  4. Cumberland Green Complex
  5. Cemetery, Fifth and Johnor Avenues
  6. Fire Station #3, 2901 Campton Hills Drive
  7. North High School – Rt. 31 and Red Gate Rd.
  8. Dunham Rd and Royal St. George Ct.
  9. Pheasant Run Lift Station @ Rt. 64
  10. Public Works Facility
  11. Municipal Center, 2 E. Main St.

See the attached map for details on siren locations.

updated Apr 18, 2024