Michigan State Police Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy state director of emergency management and homeland security, wrote the attached “letter to the editor” about the use of outdoor warning sirens.

Kelenske, Chris, Capt
Photo provided by Michigan State Police.

"On April 16, citizens, businesses, schools and government agencies across the state conducted a voluntary statewide tornado drill during Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the drill and took action to prepare for this year’s severe weather season.

While the drill was successful in raising awareness, it brought to light a couple of misunderstandings about the use of outdoor warning sirens—specifically the belief that outdoor warning sirens are coordinated statewide and that outdoor warning sirens are the only alerting system for tornadoes and other severe weather events.
In Michigan, outdoor warning sirens are independently controlled by local officials in townships, villages, cities and counties, varying community by community to meet local needs. It’s also important to understand that outdoor warning sirens are designed to be heard when you are outside, which means you may not hear the siren when you are indoors.

To be better prepared and protected at home, work or school, it is recommended that citizens have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio to receive breaking severe weather alerts.

Weather radios silently monitor broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week until there is a weather emergency, at which time the radio will emit an alarm to alert you to potential danger. A weather radio can be purchased at most electronic, hardware and big box stores for approximately $30.

To ensure you are prepared for severe weather, I encourage everyone to learn how outdoor warning sirens are used within their communities and to plan ahead before the next emergency or disaster strikes."

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