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Warning sirens to be tested Tuesday

Published 4:46am Sunday, July 14, 2013

According to the Elmore County Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security (EMA/HS) Office, a major enhancement to the county’s emergency warning network inquires out-of-cycle testing of the all-hazards outdoor warning sirens in the county.
Weather permitting, sirens are routinely tested the first Wednesday of each month, but next week functional testing will be done Tuesday. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting, 58 of the county’s 60 sirens will be tested based on the activation of a new polygon warning system.
The new system allows for more area-specific alerts for all those living in, working in, visiting or traveling through specifically impacted areas of the county, during times of tornado warnings.
Instead of every siren in the county being activated during a tornado warning, only sirens servicing the projected impacted area(s) in the direct and projected path of the storm will be activated.
As always, sirens are activated once the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, allowing as much advance warning as possible to alert people outdoors to get indoors to their safe place, out of harm’s way, as quickly as possible.
The polygon warning system is designed to increase the effectiveness of the county’s all-hazards outdoor warning siren capability. Providing more area-specific, targeted warnings should help combat complacency toward taking action steps, a normal but dangerous response anytime the public perceives it is being over-warned.
At the same time, the additional warning system capability may also help increase the probability of survivability and reduce some preventable property damage.
By more narrowly focusing alerts on only those areas directly in the projected path of the storm, people are more likely to take the warnings seriously and respond with those time-critical, life-saving, property-preserving action steps.
Again, instead of sirens sounding county-wide with every tornado warning, now only those sirens servicing the specifically-warned area(s), those within the polygon, will be activated.
The sirens are only one capability in the alert and warning notifications network, designed specifically to alert all those who can hear them to take two initial action steps:
1. If outdoors, move indoors to a sturdy, protective shelter as soon as possible.
2. Seek the proper information to find out why the siren has sounded. Severe weather is obvious most of the time but a hazardous materials spill is not. Find out what’s going on.
For additional information, call the Elmore County EMA/HS Office at 334-567-6451.

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