Debunking Tornado Siren Myths: Essential Information for Midwest Residents


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Chicago, IL – With tornado season fully upon us, understanding the limitations of tornado sirens is crucial for Midwest residents’ safety. Contrary to common belief, tornado sirens, also known as outdoor warning sirens, are designed solely to alert individuals who are outdoors. They are not reliable for warning those who are indoors or sleeping.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), these sirens are not activated or controlled by their agency. Instead, local city or county officials, typically emergency management or law enforcement personnel, are responsible for their activation.

For comprehensive safety, the NWS emphasizes the importance of having at least three methods to receive severe weather warnings. These methods should not include relying on outdoor sirens if you are indoors or sleeping. Alternatives include NOAA weather radios, smartphone alerts, and local news broadcasts.

Residents are urged to review and update their severe weather plans to ensure they receive timely warnings through multiple channels. The repetitive message from the NWS is clear: tornado sirens are not intended for use indoors or during sleep.


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