Warning: Sirens to wail today
The Rock County Outdoor Warning System plans to test sirens at 12:05 p.m. today. A brief explaining that is tucked into the sea of election coverage in today’s Gazette.
When you hear the sirens, whatever you do, just DO NOT call 911. A related county website explains the warning system. The sirens are tested the first Wednesday of each month at 12:05 p.m. from April through October. You’ll hear a steady, two-minute tone. Sirens will NOT be tested in cases of inclement weather.
Why the tests? Inevitably, some sirens will fail. You’re encouraged to call Rock County Emergency Management at 608-758-8440 to report such failures.
Yes, April is Tornado Awareness Month, and while the weather around here has been anything but encouraging to twister formation, much unstable weather is likely before the month is over. It would be cost-prohibitive to have a siren within earshot of every residence in the county, but it makes sense to have and test them in key population clusters. Those who don’t live near sirens are encouraged to keep an eye out for possible severe weather, to tune in to local radio stations for reports or to buy emergency weather radios. These are good tips even if you DO live near sirens; sometimes, you might be indoors and not hear them.
That county website has important details for when severe weather might occur. For example, warning sirens will sound steady tones for three to five minutes when a tornado warning has been issued. Immediately take shelter. Do not call 911 to inquire about the siren—doing so might clog up lines needed for emergency responders. Tune in to WCLO AM 1230 or WJVL FM 99.9 in Janesville or WGEZ AM 1490 in Beloit for weather reports. The county DOES NOT activate sirens for an “all clear” signal.
Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow him on Twitter or