Williams County Outdoor Warning System
County outdoor warning system is designed to alert people who are
outdoors during emergencies.There are more than 40 sirens located across the county.
From April to September (peak weather season), we audibly
test the sirens every Wednesday at 12 pm. During the off-season, the sires are tested on the 1st Wednesday of the month. In both cases, the test is not conducted if threatening weather is present.
primary focus of this system is to provide warning of tornadoes and other
dangerous situations. If possible, the
system is sounded 15 minutes prior to the conditions entering an area. Some situations do not allow for this amount
of lead time; other situations might cause us to increase the time.
sounded, each siren runs for 3-minutes. During an emergency, one might hear the sirens several different times as
we activate the system, let it run for three minutes, and then reactivate if a
threat is still present.
an “all-clear” is never sounded, this is in accordance to our internal policies
and also the guidelines provided in a regional warning system agreement.
We do have
the ability to not only use these for severe weather, but also for other
emergencies where outdoor alerting and messaging is needed. For example, we can activate a single siren
to provide information on a hazardous smoke or chemical plume that threatening
a localized area.
All of the sirens
operate from AC or battery power, so commercial power outages do not affect the
operation of our system. We also have
systems in place to back up the primary activation unit in our Emergency
the siren system is designed to be an OUTDOOR warning system. Newer construction homes are typically built
to suppress outside traffic and neighbor noises, unfortunately the sirens are
suppressed as well. Add in the typical
sounds of televisions, computers, game systems, radios and just normal
conversation, and it may be unlikely that a siren could be heard indoors.
means of warning exist for those indoors.
These include television and AM/FM radio, NOAA All-Hazards radios
(“weather radios”), social media sources, and many telephone/tablet
applications. One should ensure that
they have several sources of weather warning information, and that they do not
all depend on commercial power or the internet (plan for the power being off or
internet connectivity being down).
important to test the various means of warning.
Can a weather radio still get good reception in a underground steel
storm shelter? Is there power for a
television in the shelter?
sirens sound during severe weather, one should TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY! If one wishes to seek additional information,
it should be done from the safety of a shelter.
One should never go outside or look out of a window, as these are
dangerous places during severe weather.
9-1-1 unless there is an emergency to report.