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Umpires, ballplayers and parents attending games at Jaycee/Ehlert Park in Brookfield no longer need to wonder when they'll have to clear the field if ominous weather moves in.
Whenever lightning is in the vicinity, a horn will sound to let everyone know to seek shelter - and will also let them know when it's OK to resume play. In early June, the village of Brookfield installed a lightning detection system on the roof of the Brookfield fire station at Shields and Sunnyside avenues, near the ball fields.
The device, which looks a little like an inverted metal saucer, includes horns that sound in different directions and a strobe light to alert people whenever dangerous weather is approaching.
"It goes off whenever there's stormy weather," said Brookfield Village Manager Riccardo Ginex, who added that the system operates whether games are happening at the field or not, at any time of day. "It detects a change in the atmosphere a couple of miles out."
When the threat of lightning has passed, said Ginex, the device sounds an all-clear by sounding three short beeps.
Information is sent wirelessly to a computer device inside the police department at Brookfield Village Hall. That computer is also connected to a similar detection system at Kiwanis Park, which was installed in 2010 courtesy of a grant from Riverside Township.
Brookfield had sought a grant for the Ehlert Park detection device from Lyons Township but was unsuccessful. The $4,500 for the system at the south side park was paid for through the village's general operating fund.