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GUEST COLUMN: Understanding early warning sirens

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By Darrell Stevens | EMA Director

The Spencer County Emergency Management Agency has nine outdoor warning sirens located throughout Spencer County. They are designed to inform residents who are outside of a possible emergency. The sirens activate simultaneously countywide during an emergency. The outdoor warning sirens are part of an emergency system designed to provide immediate and valuable information to citizens. The system is not designed to alert those who are within a home or other structure.
What to do if the sirens
are activated
If you hear the sirens while you are outside, please go inside and seek shelter immediately and refer to a television or radio for further instructions. Please do not call 911 for severe weather information. Call 911 only to report life-threatening situations. The nine warning sirens are located at the following locations in Spencer County:

Elk Creek Fire Station (TSCFD old Station #2)
Waterford Fire Station (TSCFD Station #3)
Little Mount Fire Station (TSCFD Station #4)
Ashes Creek Fire Station (TSCFD Station #5)
Little Union Fire Station (TSCFD Station #6)
Mount Eden Fire Station (MEFD Station #1)
Taylorsville School Hill
Spencer County Middle School
Highview Drive and Little Mount Road

During storms
The siren will produce a steady tone signal for three minutes. The sound will have a natural decrease/increase due to the rotation of the siren head. The sirens will only be initiated in the case of a tornado warning for Spencer County by the National Weather Service.

During a hazardous materials incident/flooding /dam failure/enemy or terrorist attack
The siren will produce a steady tone signal for three minutes. The sound will have a natural decrease/increase due to the rotation of the siren head. Siren activation will occur if there is a significant hazardous materials incident, flooding or dam failure, or terrorist attack, which poses a threat to human health, that will require evacuation or sheltering-in-place.  
During any of these events, if you hear the sirens while you are outside, please go inside and seek shelter immediately and refer to a television or radio for further instructions.
Please do not call 911 for severe weather information.

Siren Testing
The Early Warning System is tested on the third Wednesday of each month at noon.

NOAA Weather Radio
These sirens are an outdoor warning system. They are intended to alert people outdoors to emergency conditions. The sirens are not intended to alert people that are inside a structure. An NOAA Radio can be a useful tool for that purpose. Families can purchase a weather alert radio as an additional resource for emergency preparedness.
The outdoor sounding sirens are your cue to listen to your local radio and/or television for information concerning severe weather or other emergency in your area. You must make an informed decision on your safety and the safety of your family and take immediate action.

Spencer County Siren Information
Seven of the county’s nine sirens are battery-operated only. This means that during an emergency, the community will be provided with 15 minutes of early warning. Just because the sirens have stopped sounding does not mean the hazard is over. Listen to your NOAA Radio, local radio and/or television for information concerning the emergency in your area.

If you have any questions, please contact me, Darrell Stevens, Spencer County Emergency Management director, at 502-477-3244.