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Preparing for Severe Weather Season: Outdoor Warning Sirens

DEL CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Preparing for Severe Weather Season: Outdoor Warning Sirens

With the arrival of Spring, so too does Oklahoma’s severe weather season, including tornados. Tornados can occur any month of the year, but the risk is higher in the months of March, April, May, and June. Homes, businesses, schools, and organizations need to have a Severe Weather Preparedness Plan on where to safely protect families, patrons, students, and participants from severe weather and how to receive weather information and warnings. One way though should not be the only way, to warn the public of a tornado warning is the Outdoor Warning System (OWS).

The Del City Office of Emergency Management maintains 8 Outdoor Warning Sirens strategically located throughout Del City. A responsibility of Emergency Management is to warn the public of approaching or existing hazardous conditions, which require immediate protective actions in order to save lives and reduce injuries. Outdoor Warning Systems (OWS) are but one method to warn the public. Outdoor Warning Systems are designed to alert citizens who are outside or outdoors; they are not designed to penetrate buildings and warn those inside structures. Citizens should not mistakenly wait to hear a siren as their only source of warning information. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) All-Hazards Radio with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology is a good method of receiving warning messages indoors. Del City, along with other Central Oklahoma communities, tests their OWS at noon on Saturdays, weather permitting, with no potential for severe weather.

With Del City’s proximity to other cities and jurisdictions that also have an OWS, it is possible to hear those sirens as well. One should not get focused on determining whose sirens are sounding. If you are hearing a “tornado siren”, that means the threat (tornado) is close enough to you that you need to 1) TAKE SHELTER and 2) SEEK ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. For example, the City of Oklahoma City has geographically divided their OWS in zones, that if “an OKC siren” is heard, then geographically the threat is also close to Del City. Again, do not get caught up in whose siren or sirens are sounding – IF YOU HEAR ONE, THE THREAT IS NEAR YOU and TO TAKE ACTION! For more information on tornado safety and preparedness, visit https://www.weather.gov/safety/tornado.