Oklahoma City officials want to remind residents of the city’s new tornado siren policy as spring nears.
Oklahoma City’s new tornado siren policy makes it more important than ever to immediately take shelter and get more information when you hear a siren. Sirens in OKC will sound only in and near areas covered by National Weather Service (NWS) tornado warnings.
The Oklahoma City Council adopted the new policy in December.
Sirens to sound in smaller areas
In previous years, OKC sounded all of its sirens within a county affected by an NWS tornado warning. For example, if the NWS issued a tornado warning in Cleveland County, OKC sounded all of its Cleveland County sirens. As a result, people could hear sirens far away from tornado threats.
Now, sirens will sound in smaller areas. That means anyone who hears a siren is more likely to be close to a potentially deadly storm.
The NWS and other emergency management officials collaborated with the City to recommend the policy improvement. They concluded people are ignoring sirens as changing technology provides better information more quickly. It’s dangerous when people stop associating sirens with an imminent threat.
The NWS estimates the policy change means up to 68 percent fewer people will hear sirens when there’s no nearby threat.
Have multiple information sources
Emergency management officials recommend you have more than one way to get warnings and other information about storms. Information sources include NOAA weather radios, smartphone apps, television news, traditional radios and online news and weather websites.
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