Verona, WI – We’ve all heard the fable about the boy who cried wolf, raising a false alarm so many times that the villagers ignored him when he really meant it. That same lesson applies when a weather alert system generates numerous false alarms. Unfortunately, if there is lightning involved, that can mean the difference between life and death. Having witnessed this among their patrons, the Palatine Park District decided to replace their lightning prediction systems with Strike Guard Early-Warning Lightning Detection Systems from Commercial Recreation Specialists (CRS) at their parks, pools, golf courses and stables in Palatine, Illinois.
“The town of Palatine previously had lightning prediction systems and because of the inaccuracy of them going off when there wasn’t lightning, the patrons simply ignored them,” says Keith Williams, who serves as superintendent of recreation for the district. “When we began looking to install our own systems, we knew we wanted something that actually measures and records lightning strikes. Working with CRS, we discovered that not only would Strike Guard meet those needs, but that we could install it in phases to see how the new systems performed and tweak our configuration along the way. This helped us meet our budgetary requirements.”
The Palatine Park District learned that there is a big difference between lightning prediction and lightning detection. While a lightning prediction system measures the probability of lightning based on atmospheric conditions, the Strike Guard Early-Warning Lightning Detection System senses a change in the magnetic field while also detecting an optical pulse from either cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-ground lightning strikes within a 20-mile radius. This optical-coincidence technology is what prevents false alarms.
“With just two sensors, the Strike Guard Lightning Warning System covers the entire Palatine district with a reliable early-warning system,” says Ron Romens, President of CRS , who designed Palatine’s Strike Guard configuration and oversaw its installation. “These sensors output information at three danger levels: a caution when lightning is detected at 20 miles, a warning when lightning is detected at 10 miles, and an alert when lightning is detected at five miles.”
These three levels allow officials at the Palatine Park District to alert the community with a warning siren and/or visual strobes when lightning strikes within 10 miles of their parks. They also have the option of posting conditions to their website or automatically generating emails and text notifications to their staff, volunteers or patrons, such as sports teams or clubs that have reserved playing fields. After sensing 30 minutes of lightning-free conditions, the Strike Guard system can also signal an “all-clear” message indicating that activities can resume.
“We’re excited because we’ve been able to incorporate the Strike Guard protection throughout our whole town. It’s not just being used by our park district, but also by the Palatine emergency management. We now have a warning system we can trust,” says Williams.