JOPLIN, Mo. - Following the May 22, 2011 tornado, City officials noted several types of reactions to the storm sirens which prompted discussions and review of Joplin's storm siren policy to determine best practice uses of this technology.
Emergency Manager Keith Stammer and Fire Chief Mitch Randles presented their findings at the February 21 City Council meeting to Council members and viewers at home to notify them about the storm siren policy changes that will occur immediately in response to their research. "We worked with several weather agencies to learn what our citizens knew about the storm sirens on the day of the tornado, and how they reacted to its sounding," said Stammer. "With this information, we are making changes to our siren sounding policy as well as upgrading the technology of our sirens with the goal that people take IMMEDIATE cover upon hearing a siren."
To eliminate numerous soundings as part of the tests, the City looked at different options, and has announced the following changes: Siren testing will now be conducted only on the first and third Monday morning of each month, (weather permitting) at 10 a.m. This testing is for one minute and is NOT conducted when threatening weather is in the area. The first test will be conducted on Monday, March 5. When activated for due to storm alerts, the siren consists of a steady tone for duration of three minutes. A second siren activation will now occur IF the initial warning had been sounded more than ten minutes prior to the warned storm system's arrival to the city. The second activation will be another three-minute sounding.