Weather warning sirens blared Sunday in Cedar Rapids. And while a tornado hit north of here, Cedar Rapids wasn’t hit.
Some, including myself, wondered why the sirens warned us. That is because when sirens are activated, all sirens are activated, Michael Goldberg, Linn County Emergency Management coordinator, told me today.
“Current programming is ‘all or none’,” he said. “Individual programming for each siren has been investigated but would add significant delay to the response of each siren.”
He said: ” The siren system is intended to serve the function of an outdoor warning alert mechanism. It is multi-hazard in that it can be used for weather and local emergencies. The proper response to hearing the outdoor warning siren is to tune to the All-hazard radio network provided through NOAA=National Weather Service or the local media outlets, particularly 96.5 FM or 600 AM for further information and instruction on protective actions.”
Here’s the rest of the story straight from Goldberg’s e-mail to me:
– The system is provided and maintained by NextEraEnergy – Duane Arnold as part of their 144 siren system in Linn and Benton Counties.
– The outdoor warning system is designed to meet their federal regulatory public notification requirements associated with the emergency planning zone (EPZ) around the DAEC. The EPZ is roughly the 10 mile area around the Duane Arnold facility which is located northwest of the Cedar Rapids Metro area.
– The use of the system for weather events is a concurrent or secondary use that is encouraged by NextEraEnergy.
– Emergency Management has access to and control of the activation of the 109 sirens in the EPZ-Metro area. Current programming is “all or none”. Individual programming for each siren has been investigated but would add significant delay to the response of each siren.
-Linn County EMA does not control the activation of the outdoor sirens for communities outside the emergency planning zone. The coverage area is similar to the area depicted in the emergency response section of your phone book.