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.