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  • IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star

    Indianapolis tornado sirens will only sound during warnings

    By Jade Jackson, Indianapolis Star,

    20 days ago

    If you hear a tornado siren, be prepared for a tornado.

    After implementing a different approach that sounded the alarms when a severe thunderstorm warning happened alongside a tornado watch, the Metropolitan Emergency Services Agency Division of Marion County Emergency Management has reversed course.

    After also reviewing the first two severe weather events of 2024 the conclusion has been to only alert sirens when there is a tornado.

    "While the intention was to provide earlier warning and weather awareness in this age of connectivity it was having the opposite effect and could ultimately lead to complacency," Emergency Management Director, Jacob Spence said in a news release.

    In February, Indy residents were awakened by the sounds of outdoor warning sirens in the early morning hours as the weather threatened to take a bad turn. The National Weather Service in Indianapolis issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 1:52 a.m. for the area including Greenwood and Lawrence.

    The public is reminded that the outdoor warning siren system is intended for outdoor notification only, and the best way to remain weather aware is to have multiple ways to receive notifications.

    People are encouraged to follow Marion County Emergency Management on various social media platforms as well as visit their website page for preparedness and the Marion County Rave Alert notification system.

    🚨 Indiana Weather Alerts: Warnings, Watches and Advisories

    How to stay safe during tornadoes

    There have been more than 1,400 confirmed tornadoes in Indiana since 1950, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    "Because tornadoes are one of the more common natural-disaster risks the state faces, it is imperative Hoosiers are prepared before one occurs," the agency's website says.

    Here's how they recommend staying safe:

    • Identify safe places to shelter. For optimal protection, choose basements, storm cellars and inner rooms away from doors, windows and outer walls.
    • If you live in a mobile or manufactured home, identify an alternative shelter such as a single-family home, designated tornado shelter or building built with reinforced concrete. Also, find the best route to this shelter and practice how long it takes to get there.
    • During tornado warnings, move to the lowest level of a sturdy building. Going to a basement, safe room or storm cellar is best. If unavailable, use an interior room or hallway without windows.
    • Stay out of damaged buildings until inspected and cleared by a building official.

    Contact Jade Jackson at Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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