Archive for Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tornado siren policy revised

May 22, 2008


County to change tornado siren policy

In the wake of damaging storms earlier this month, Douglas County will change its outdoor warning siren policy. Enlarge video

The next time the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Douglas County, sirens will be sounded.

That's according to a revised policy favored by the Douglas County Emergency Management advisory board and county commissioners.

"We listened to the public," emergency management director Teri Smith told commissioners on Wednesday.

Emergency management was criticized by some earlier this month when sirens were not sounded even though tornado warnings were issued by the weather service. The storms, which included tornados, struck during the early morning hours of May 2.

The policy in place called for a "local determination" of a tornado to be made before sirens are sounded. That determination involved several considerations, including but not limited to a weather service warning.

Commissioners Bob Johnson, Jere McElhaney and Charles Jones said they supported the revised policy. A formal resolution adopting the new policy will be presented later to commissioners for a vote.

Three local residents who spoke at the commission meeting also said they favored the new policy.

"We thought at least at night the sirens ought to be sounded. There is no way to see (tornadoes) at night," said Ted Boyle, president of the North Lawrence Improvement Association.

Emergency management has the capability of sounding the sirens in certain areas of the county or they can be sounded throughout the county, as circumstances warrant, Smith said. She said she thinks the revised policy will lead to sirens being sounded more often.

Between 1989 and 2007, there have been 36 tornado warnings issued for Douglas County, or about two per year, emergency management records show.


blakus 10 years ago

Can't wait until the sirens sound when there isn't a tornado and people whine about how they had to get up at 2 a.m. for a false alarm. Oh well, better safe than sorry. Personally, I think the change in policy is a bad idea.

Moderateguy 10 years ago

Thank you! That simple change was all we were asking for.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 10 years ago

What a unique idea, listen to the people you are paid by, and are working for. We should try that more often. For instance, the people didn't approve a 50% raise for these comissioners right at Christmas time. Nor did the people wish for the Lecompton bridge to be totally closed when a new deck was put on. They may have learned a little something, they left one lane open while the under carriage of the bridge is presently being painted, and at least one of them is not running again because he knows he won't get elected. Sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in. Thank you, Lynn

sharper 10 years ago

My family and friends are relieved. Thanks for listening!

mistygreen 10 years ago

Thanks to all that supported this policy change. We (hubby & I) attended the meeting last night, and while only 3 people spoke in favor of the change, there were others there are as well. I'm sure all would of provided comments, but it was made clear that the commission was in favor of the change.

Danielle Brunin 10 years ago

Yay! Thank you for listening Douglas County Commission!

Poon 10 years ago

A well regulated Warning System, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and hear Alarms, shall not be infringed.

KJones 10 years ago

I am very pleased with this....even if I have to wake up twice a year for nothing, far worth the sacrafice

Curtis Lange 10 years ago

The people spoke and leadership listened! Good job Douglas County, you did the right thing. sidenote: We hear the sirens more for the 'tests' than we do actual tornado warnings.

road_Runner 10 years ago

Good to hear and thank you DCC!Tornado warnings which include the city of Lawrence or Douglas County in general are such a rare occurrence that having them going off everytime there's a warning isn't really that big of an increase.

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