Town Works to Ensure Public Awareness With Outdoor Warning Siren System
Most of us have immense confidence in our ability as weather prognosticators thanks to apps like WeatherBug, NOAA, Weather Channel, and Weather Nation; not to mention the weather predictions on our favorite broadcast channel.
It’s been a long, tough winter and we look forward to longer days, more sunlight and warmer weather. Yet, this also is the height of tornado season. The Farmer’s Almanac warns that tornadoes can occur at any time of the year, but the season’s traditional period of peak is March through early July with an average of 1,200 tornadoes touch down in the United States.
The Town of Collierville wants its citizenry to be safe and informed if severe weather or other emergency notification is needed. While severe weather, most often a tornado sighting or touchdown, is the reason for activating the Outdoor Warning Siren System, any impending threat to life and property, like a hazardous material spill/evacuation order, also activate the siren system.
In conjunction with the outdoor warning siren system, the Town utilizes a reverse 9-1-1 notification system called AlertCollierville, which notifies residences and businesses of impending emergencies through their landline phone. Citizens are strongly encouraged to go on-line at Collierville.com/residents/alert-collierville and register additional devices such as their personal cell phones and email addresses in order to receive emergency notifications. “We also encourage citizens to monitor commercial television and radio, cable outlets or NOAA weather radios for weather statements and warnings,” Chip Petersen, Director-Collierville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts said. Petersen, along with Lieutenant David Townsend, Collierville Police Department and Mark King, Chief of Administration/Collierville Fire Department, comprise the Town Emergency Management Alert Team. With close observation or a radar source with the technology to narrow threats to specific areas, the EMA team determines when to activate or discontinue the warning system. Emergency weather notifications to Collierville 9-1-1 Center are received through the National Weather Service Prediction Center.
“The purpose of the Outdoor Warning Siren System is to alert persons outside the home, school, business and other places of impending situations like tornados, flash flood, Amber Alerts, material spills, and civil disturbance situations,” Petersen continued. “The siren is not designed to be heard inside every home. The system’s purpose is to warn people outside to seek shelter indoors.” Residents may also consider use of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ‘all hazard’ weather radio for constant, up-to-date information.
It is also important to note that the outdoor warning sirens are tested every Saturday at 12Noon, except during inclement weather. The test is an audible message followed by a steady, continuous alert tone for one (1) minute.
It is important to note the following terms used to describe weather conditions: ‘Watch’ – conditions favorable to produce severe thunderstorms or intensified conditions when tornadoes may develop; ‘Warning’ – Severe thunderstorms are occurring or a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar.
Printed information on the Outdoor Warning Siren System and Severe Weather Guide may be picked up at Collierville Town Hall, 500 Poplar View Parkway, 8am-5pm and is also included in each packet for newcomers to Collierville. Click here to register for this program.