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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As clean up begins after severe storms produced at least two tornadoes in the Kansas City area, many are wondering why they couldn’t hear their outdoor warning sirens.

Designed as an outdoor warning system, the sirens should not be relied upon to provide sufficient warning indoors or in noisy areas, according to Johnson County Emergency Management. Air conditioning, thunder, wind, rain, and other conditions can cause the sirens not to be heard indoors or even outdoors.

Back in 1952, outdoor warning sirens weren’t even used for tornado warnings.

The Civil Defense Act of 1951 was passed by President Harry Truman. Part of that Civil Defense Act mandated public fallout shelters for the Atomic Bomb as well as outdoor warning sirens that would warn the public of an Atomic Bomb blast.

The first-ever air raid siren test sounded in Wichita, Kansas, on April 22, 1952.

People are encouraged to have multiple ways to receive severe weather alerts in their area as sirens can also be subject to lightning strikes and other equipment malfunction.

A few ways to receive weather alerts include the FOX4 News and weather app, as well as signing up for AlertKC or NotifyJoCo.

According to the National Weather Service, the safest approach is to be proactive and use all of the information available to protect yourself and your family from threatening weather.

If a storm is approaching, the lightning alone is a threat. Sirens are only one part of a warning system that includes preparation, NOAA Weather Radio, and local media.

Johnson County, Kansas’ outdoor warning system consists of 190 sirens placed strategically throughout the county as an early warning device to alert people to take shelter during severe weather.

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