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1959 All Over Again? Evanston To Sound Emergency Sirens If Cubs Win

By Linze Rice | October 28, 2016 5:38am | Updated on November 2, 2016 8:17am
 Evanston's emergency sirens will sound if the Cubs win the World Series.
Evanston's emergency sirens will sound if the Cubs win the World Series.
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Facebook/City of Evanston; DNAinfo

ROGERS PARK — If you hear a tornado siren go off tonight, you might not have to worry — that's just the city of Evanston celebrating the Cubs winning the World Series.

The city of Evanston, which shares a border with Far North Side neighborhoods Rogers Park and West Ridge, said it plans to activate its local alert system for a 1½-minute hoorah if the Cubs take the series. 

The idea was approved by the Evanston City Council during a meeting last week.

"When the Chicago Cubs win, it will be a special moment for all residents of Evanston," Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said. "I believe it is appropriate for this once-in-a-lifetime event — well maybe more than once, who knows — to celebrate by sounding the city's alert sirens at the conclusion of the final winning game."

 Cubs fans after the team won the NLCS.
Cubs fans after the team won the NLCS.
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DNAinfo/Brad Gerick

Tisdahl said an alderman had volunteered to "pull the switch" and requested city workers do their best to spread the word on the alerts.

The sirens are usually reserved for weather emergencies, like tornadoes, and to alert residents to snow-related parking restrictions. The sirens are tested weekly on Tuesday mornings.

Martha Logan, a spokeswoman for the city of Evanston, said to her knowledge it was the first time the city planned to ring the sirens for a World Series win, adding her office didn't recall using the sound system when the White Sox won in 2005.  

The reaction to the announcement on the city's Facebook page received mixed reactions, with some commenters expressing excitement and others calling the idea "terrible."

"At this point we're not responding to the [Facebook] likes or the dislikes," Logan said. 

Emergency sirens come in two kinds: "alert signals," like the one being used if the Cubs win, and "take cover" signals in the event there is an attack on the city. 

In 1959, when the White Sox won the pennant, Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn sounded the air-raid sirens for five minutes — shocking some residents who hid in their basement, according to the Tribune, but delighting others celebrating the win. 

Similarly, when the Detroit Tigers won the 1968 World Series at home, Detroit celebrated by pulling all the stops: "Air raid sirens wailed, horns blared, and church bells pealed," the Tribune reported at the time.

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