This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas. The National Weather Service put the following information together to remind the public that outdoor warning sirens are not intended to alert people indoors.
Every year the National Weather Service and the emergency management communities get together and provide severe weather information for the public. Each year we emphasize the fact that the outdoor sirens are just that, an Outdoor Warning System. Every year we get a multitude of calls telling us that the sirens can’t be heard while in the house.
Severe weather season usually begins in the early spring in Kansas. We all need to be prepared for severe weather at any time of the day or night and at any time of year. The National Weather Service, emergency management, law enforcement, the 9-1-1 center, and the fire department cannot notify every individual of the possibility of severe weather in their town. The local media outlets and All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio are your best sources for information concerning severe weather watches and warnings. Do not wait for the sirens to be your warning system at home. Sirens may not be working if the power is out and oftentimes cannot be heard indoors. Sirens may not be activated for other severe threats such as damaging straight line winds in excess of 60 mph, large hail, and flooding. Monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local media then take the appropriate action for the severe weather threat. If it appears that a severe thunderstorm is approaching your location, do not wait for the outdoor sirens, take immediate action to protect your life and the lives of others in your home.
Hundreds of volunteer storm spotters, amateur radio operators, and first responders put their lives on the line every time there is severe weather in the local area. They do this because they care about the people in their communities and want to make sure those people are given the best chance at survival. The storm spotters, emergency managers, law enforcement and other volunteers immediately relay severe weather reports to the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service in turn disseminates that information to the media and public through warnings, statements, and local storm reports. Getting the word out to the public in a timely manner may save lives. When severe weather threatens at night while most people sleep, it can be especially dangerous. Oftentimes in the heat of the spring and summer, we cannot hear outdoor sirens over running air conditioners. A NOAA Weather Radio with a back-up battery can make the difference for you and your family.
Take responsibility. Listen to the media. Take protective action, and survive to enjoy the wonderful warm sunny days that also come this time of year.