The city of Aurora has taken major steps to improve and expand its emergency warning system to cover the entire community.
On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission approved a waiver request from the Aurora Emergency Management Agency to increase the transmission range of its Emergency Radio Station 1650 AM.
The EMA radio transmitter, located at Solfisburg Park, in the past has operated using 1 watt of power, based on FCC regulations. But that 1 watt of power was only enough to allow the station to be heard for about a one- to two-mile range. The FCC waiver allows the radio station now to operate at 10 watts of power and be heard throughout the entire City of Aurora.
In 2015, the Aurora EMA began researching solutions to increase coverage for the emergency radio station. Although it took about a year for the FCC to grant the waiver, Aurora EMA Coordinator Joseph Jones said it was worth the wait.
“The FCC waiver approval to increase coverage to the entire city makes the 1650 AM Emergency Radio Station another valuable tool for the city to communicate with its citizens during times of emergency,” Jones said.
The Aurora Emergency Radio Station broadcasts emergency preparedness information and National Weather Service watches and warnings at 1650 AM. Traffic information can be transmitted when necessary along with other emergency messaging.
Warning Sirens Expanded
The city also has completed a major expansion in the number of outdoor warning sirens around the community. Siren upgrades have been completed at
Fire Station 12, at 2424 Hafenrichter Road, and at 1901 Bilter Road, next to City Well 20. And new sirens have been installed at 339 Middle Avenue and 3025 Heggs Road. There now is a total of 20 outdoor warning sirens in operation throughout the city.
Jones cautioned that outdoor warning sirens are only meant to be heard while outside — and not inside homes and business. Jones said the best method to receive warnings when inside is to purchase an NOAA weather radio, turn to the city’s Emergency Radio Station 1650 AM, monitor radio and television, or enable emergency alerts on your smartphone.
Sign up for Aurora Alert
Aurorans also are advised to sign up for the city’s new resident notification system, Aurora Alert. Aurora Alert provides information about emergencies, traffic updates and community news through text, email, TTYD devices, and calls to cell, home, or work phones.
To register, residents should complete a customized Aurora Alert account by visiting www.aurora-il.org and clicking on the Aurora Alert banner at the top or to the right. The customer profiles are customized based on address, which allows for alerts to be distributed to specific areas. Or click here to sign up now.
Residents can sign up for cell phone alerts simply by texting AURORAIL to 888777 to receive abbreviated text alerts only. For more detailed information, visit www.aurora-il.org/auroraalert.
SOURCE: city of Aurora news release
Aurora Alert: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Aurora Alert?
When will it be used?
Will I still get emergency notifications if I don’t sign up?
What if my phone number or email address changes?
Will my contact information be shared with others?
No. The information that you provide will be used only for this Organization for notification purposes. We will not give or sell your contact or location information to any vendor or other organization.
SOURCE: Aurora Alert, city of Aurora