Boone County Proposes Changes to Siren System

Related Story

BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Office of Emergency Management is pursuing changes to its outdoor warning siren system.

In an attempt to improve effectiveness, the office wants to target specific zones throughout Boone County instead of sounding all 85 sirens at once.

The proposal would allow officials to trigger sirens in particular zones, including northern, central and southern parts of the county.

While the office would still have the ability to air sirens throughout the whole county, the new options would allow emergency managers to base siren activations on more immediate threats or hazards. 

The map below shows the three proposed zones. Red lines indicate the boundaries. (Read more.)

"Tornadoes and the storms that they are a part of are usually pretty large," said Deputy Emergency Management Director Josh Creamer.

"There is going to be times where we would have to activate, just as a precaution, maybe the sirens in other zones," he said. "While this will help us target to some extent, there is still going to be times where the sirens are activated for tornadoes that may still be geographically a ways away."

Creamer said sirens in multiple zones may be activated at once in a tornado warning crosses into two different zones.

The image you see below is an example of a warning crossing over into two zones. With the changes, the sirens in the southern and central zones would sound. The northern zone would not hear a warning. (Read more.)


Creamer said the purpose of the proposed changes is to get people to take tornado sirens more seriously.

"Our goal with these changes would be to make sure that the public, when they hear tornado sirens, they understand that there is an immediate threat and that they need to take action," Creamer said.

"What we want to try to avoid," he said, "is the numbers of times that people hear tornado sirens when there's no imminent or immediate threat to them, which could lead to what some people call 'siren fatigue.'"

Creamer said the next steps for the proposal would include working with Boone County Joint Communications and programming the siren controllers to work as required.

The proposal will then go to the emergency management policy group. Creamer said he hopes the proposed system will be implemented in the next several months.