BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Beginning on Jan. 6, the outdoor warning sirens in Monroe County will be tested at noon and 7 p.m. on the first Friday of each month, instead of just once on testing day. The evening test will allow emergency management officials to better check both the primary and secondary systems.
When tested, the sirens are activated for 30 seconds, unlike during real scenarios when they sound for 5 minutes. During the tests, voice messages also can be heard on the six warning systems on the IU Bloomington campus.
The monthly tests are for the benefit of Monroe county residents and visitors as well as the IUPD and Monroe County dispatchers who activate the warning systems.
"Sirens may sound for different reasons in other countries and in other parts of the U.S., so we want to familiarize students, staff and faculty with our alarm systems," said Ken Long, director of IU Emergency Management and Continuity at IU Bloomington. "We also conduct a tornado drill in the spring on all IU campuses."
The outdoor warning systems are most often used to warn of tornado sightings, when a steady siren is issued. For other emergencies, which can include man-made threats such as chemical spills, an undulating siren is issued. Both are designed to alert people who are outside, not indoors, so it's important to use other means to learn of severe weather and other threats. Receiving IU-Notify emergency alerts by text is the quickest way for IU employees and students to receive emergency information about threats to campus. Monroe County also offers the Monroe County Alert Program.
Tornadoes are mobile, funnel-shaped, violently rotating winds that can cause devastating destruction and deaths. In Indiana, they can occur any time of the year but they're most common during the spring and fall.
When a tornado warning siren is issued, it means a tornado has been spotted so emergency steps should be taken, such as going into a basement or severe weather shelter and avoiding windows and exterior doors. More
For additional information on safety precautions during severe weather, the public is encouraged to visit ready.gov, or contact the Monroe County Emergency Management office at 812-349-2546. The campus community can also contact IU Emergency Management and Continuity at 812-855-3549.