Sirens cause bit of a stir in DickinsonAs heavy rain and violent wind hit the area at about 10 Thursday night, emergency sirens sounded in Dickinson. There was no tornado warning at the time, leaving residents questioning why the sirens went off.
As heavy rain and violent wind hit the area at about 10 Thursday night, emergency sirens sounded in Dickinson. There was no tornado warning at the time, leaving residents questioning why the sirens went off.
“We received 30 calls within five seconds after the sirens went off,” Stark County Emergency Manager Brent Pringle said. “Every one of our phone lines was full for a time.”
The county held a press conference at the Stark County Law Enforcement Center Friday morning to clarify what situations set the sirens off.
At 10:01 p.m. Thursday night the National Weather Service indicated a severe thunderstorm warning for Dickinson and Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said the sirens are set off for a reason. Pringle said “we felt it was an imminent threat.”
“When we monitor weather — and believe me we watch — we monitor three different radars,” Pringle said.
Dickinson resident Whitney Vollum was driving home when she heard the siren.
“We didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “It was dark and when it’s dark you can’t see the tornado anyway.”
“I was scared. I pay more attention to the siren now, after the tornado happened,” she said regarding a tornado that hit Dickinson in July 2009.
The sirens are set off according to a plan devised by Stark County Emergency Management, the Dickinson Police Department and the Stark County Sheriff’s Department. The plan has been in use since 2008.
Warning sirens are activated when:
A tornado or funnel cloud has been sighted or reported within about 15 miles of any city in Stark County.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning for Stark County or adjoining counties and the projected path poses a threat to any city in the county.
Besides the siren going off for the weather, it is also tested every Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Anyone can report a tornado and the county tries to confirm it as soon as possible, Pringle said.
“We try and use our common sense,” he said. “If it is a sunny day and someone calls in of course we won’t sound the sirens, but if it’s nighttime and it looks like the storm could be that bad, and multiple people call in we will sound the siren. It is better to be safe than sorry.”
The sirens are to alert people who are outdoors to get inside, he said.
“When the sirens go off we ask that you do not call 911 and ask ‘why are the sirens sounding?’” Pringle said. “Please tune in to the radio or local media to find out what is going on.”