As we all know, the tornado sirens are activated at noon, generally the first Monday of the month. The purpose, I've been told, is to test the equipment, not to serve as a drill for children or families.
In 1982, I wrote to Douglas County Emergency Preparedness in the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center and asked that the time be changed to a morning hour, say 10 a.m. At 10 a.m. school age children and preschool children in early childhood programs or at home could participate in tornado drills which are generally in the spring and summer seasons. At noon, children are eating lunch or are preparing for naps and cannot participate in the drills. I was told that the time is difficult to alter, for officially changing the time of the siren test would require the approval of the officials of Douglas County, and the cities of Lawrence, Eudora, Baldwin and Lecompton, and the State of Kansas.
I have found through the years that anything worthwhile can be changed, even when it takes time and some effort. Surely children should not be taught to ignore the tornado warnings, but this is what is happening. They cannot take them seriously. Yes, I use a whistle and this is how we have our tornado drills at our child care center, but this is not the ``real thing''! Children in our county should be taught to regard a tornado siren as serious, regardless of whether they are home or in school, and should be taking the necessary precautions for their own safety.
Or, am I the only person who feels that an effort should be made to change the time?
Joan Rieber, director,
Hilltop Child Development