Outdoor Warning System
The City of Moore maintains and operates an outdoor warning system designed to alert people who are outdoors during emergencies. This system is composed of 42 sirens which provide excellent coverage throughout our City. See the map of sirens here.
The primary focus of this system is provide warning of tornadoes. Our policy is to activate the sirens when tornadic conditions are directly threatening the City of Moore. If possible, the system is sounded 15 minutes prior to the conditions entering Moore. Some situations do not allow for this amount of lead time; other situations might cause us to increase the time.
When sounded, each siren runs for 3-minutes. During a tornado warning, 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.
Note that 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 instance, we have activated a single siren in the past to provide information on a hazardous smoke plume that was passing through a neighborhood.
Twenty-eight of the sirens have the capability to not only sound a siren tone and several other tones, but also provide live or pre-recorded voice.
Thirty-three of the sirens operate from battery power, so commercial power outages do not affect the operation of most of our system. We also have systems in place to back up the primary activation unit in our Emergency Operations Center.
Each siren unit has an on-board diagnostics unit that notifies the EOC immediately upon finding any issue with the siren. The sirens are “silent tested” every morning and evening, checking the status, power, and communications with each unit; we also audibly test the sirens each Saturday at noon unless weather is threatening.
Note that 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.
Many other 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).
It is 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?
When the 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.
Never call 9-1-1 unless there is an emergency to report.