KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas and Missouri teamed up on Tuesday for statewide severe weather awareness week and emergency managers on both sides of the state line call Tuesdays testing a success.
It was a chance for everyone to practice their emergency plan, or come up with one, and put it into practice.
If you grew up in the Midwest, the sound of emergency sirens is one you get used to. Almost blending into the background but in an emergency, the sound may save your life.
“When you hear the siren, anytime, we don’t want people to say, ‘well I’ve got five minutes to get to shelter,’” Jennifer Fales with Kansas City, Missouri Emergency management said. “When you hear the sirens, it’s time to take safety precautions.”
A lesson learned in Alabama Monday when tornado sirens blared 10 minutes before an EF-4 tornado ripped through Lee County, Alabama, killed 23 people.
“This time of year, every year, we are always thinking about severe weather and it can happen anywhere in the United States almost anytime of the year,” Dan Robeson said, with Johnson County Emergency Management. “We’re getting into this season in the Kansas City metro area, where we really need to make sure everyone’s thinking about that.”
Each year, Kansas and Missouri team up to remind people about the importance of severe weather preparedness. How important it is to have a plan and practice it.
“When people practice something, they’re more likely to do it when the time comes, and they need to,” Fales said.
Assistant City Manager Donna Mays pushed the button on Tuesday’s test in Kansas City, Missouri.
With 131 sirens across the city, each with a one-mile sound radius means in many parts of the city you can hear them overlapping.
Mark Downey, a Lenexa resident, said he was giving a presentation at the time of the testing.
“I was pretty engrossed in what I was doing. I didn’t get a chance to hear them.”
The sirens are meant to warn people outside of impending danger. The thought is people inside have access to other media warnings to take cover.
Kansas City is checking out one report of a siren not going off and emergency management welcomes these types of reports. On a rare occasion, a siren may be broken. That’s why emergency management does silent tests daily. A full test the first Wednesday of the month. A great time to practice your family emergency plan. One can be found on the KCMO website.
Besides the sirens, Johnson County Emergency Managers tested their Notify JoCo system.
“So if there`s a hazardous material incident and people need to seek shelter or evacuate an area. You can also opt in to receive tornado warnings and tornado watch information for the system in a variety of other emergencies where time is of the essence,” Roberson said.
If you missed Tuesday’s tornado drill, you have other chances on the first Wednesday of every month. That is when normal monthly siren testing happens.