Auburn to Test Severe Weather Sirens on Wednesday
Testing of audible warning sirens throughout the city is scheduled to take place at noon the first Wednesday of every month.
As we head into the first days of May 2012, Georgia is on the tail-end of a three-month active tornado season.
While residents of Auburn may not have experienced a direct hit from a tornado in recent years, both a category F3 — maximum wind speeds of 158 to 206 mph — and a category F4 — maximum wind speeds of 207 to 260 mph — have affected communities as close as 15 miles away within the past 20 to 40 years.
Tornadoes can not only cause millions of dollars worth of damage to area businesses and residents, they can also rob a community of one of its most valuable resource — the lives of its people.
With that in mind, the city of Auburn has installed outdoor severe weather sirens throughout the city. These sirens are designed to notify residents who are outdoors that severe weather is in the area. Weather permitting, testing of the audible siren will take place at noon the first Wednesday of every month. The next siren test is scheduled for noon Wednesday, May 2.
When the sirens are not being tested and you happen to hear a warning sound, you should seek shelter inside immediately. Once safely indoors, turn on a television or radio to learn further information. The National Weather Service and other local channels such as WSBTV, CBS Atlanta, and 11 Alive give regular updates during severe weather emergencies. The National Weather Service’s NOAA Weather Radio website provides the frequencies of local radio stations that continually broadcast weather updates, as well.
Because the outdoor siren system is not designed to provide notification inside your home or business, you should never rely too heavily on the sirens and they may not sound in every emergency. Individuals, families and businesses are strongly encouraged by the city of Auburn to use battery-operated NOAA weather radios to regularly receive warnings and emergency information. Weather radios are available from many retail outlets, including Sears, Radio Shack, Walmart and Amazon.com. Special needs radios for the hearing and visually impaired are also available and come with alerts such as a pillow vibrator, a strobe light or a bed shaker.
According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia initiative, you and your family members should become familiar with tornado terminology. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area, and you need to take shelter immediately.
Long before a tornado hits, hold a family meeting and determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning. Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection, but in the event underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room on the lowest floor possible. Because a vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide adequate protection, you should plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, and if shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.
Visit www.ready.ga.gov for more Georgia-specific tornado preparedness information. While there, you can create a customized Ready kit checklist and a communications plan for your family or business.
What preparations have you made in the event of a tornado? Do you and your family members know where to go to take shelter in your home? Tell us in comments.
Check back every Monday for a new City Spotlight on Auburn.