Four of Warsaw’s most popular park areas will soon have a warning system to protect against the threat of lightning.

Cost of purchasing the iStrike lightning alert system through the California-based AnythingWeather was covered with a $19,900 grant from the Kosciusko County  Community Foundation.

When installed, the service will be available at Center Lake beach, Pike Lake beach, the Pike Lake campground and Glover Pavilion, which serves as the main performance stage at Central Park.

The alert system at each of the four locations will include a strobe light and a 112-decible alarm.

The system is a good guard against lightning strikes and will be a good backup system when lifeguards, who would normally alert swimmers, are not on duty, said Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer.

The system is cellular based, can be defined to specific areas and will send text alerts to parks officials, Plummer said.

The service relies on the National Weather Service and other entities to base its warning on.

Upon hearing or seeing the alarm, park patrons will be urged to seek shelter.

Plummer said the service will require some public education as to what the alerts represent. That will likely be done on the city website, social media and probably some signs near the four sirens.

Plummer said the department became interested in the service after he and Sheila Wieringa, the department recreational director, saw a demonstration of the service in Fort Wayne. They then reached out to park departments that use the service, including Noblesville where the city uses nine of the devices, primarily to protect the public along its golf courses, he said.

Concerns for lightning strikes are heightened even more around the lakes and where large groups of people congregate.

According to the company’s website, lightning strikes kill about killing 49 people a year in the United States while injuring  hundreds more.

The service also requires an annual service fee of about $3,240, Plummer said.

The equipment is easy to install and could be ready for use sometime in August, he said.