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Not every SW MO community follows "standard" new siren guideline - KOAM TV 7

Not every SW MO community follows "standard" new siren guidelines

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Last night was the first test for a new storm siren policy in Southwest Missouri.  Emergency officials are confident that some new guidelines will do a better job of continuously warning the public about danger.  But this new protocol is causing more confusion for some people.

During a long night of severe storms, Belinda Estes was communicating with family in Joplin.

"Number one, it was on Facebook.  My daughter-in-law was, what's up with these alarms going off every three minutes?  I don't know if we're supposed to take cover.  If it's over.  They keep going off, you know.  Just Irritating," says Estes.

The alarms Estes talks about are outdoor storm sirens.

Andy Nimmo with the Joplin Fire Department says,  Almost every storm that we have gone through, there's always questions regarding watches, warnings, the storm sirens.  How do they go off?  When do they go off?"

But the storm sirens were being used differently Thursday night in Joplin.

"Obviously, a new storm siren policy is in place.  So there are some questions out there," says Nimmo.

Questions like, is it really necessary to sound a storm siren more than once for the same storm?

"I don't know why they would have to sound it twice.  I think it would just stay on all the time," says Joplin resident Austin Weece.

But for the time being, there is no "all clear" siren for Joplin.  Instead, sirens will sound steady for three minutes.  They may sound multiple times, with pauses in between.  

Joplin emergency officials say they want to make sure people outside know there's an ongoing emergency.  Also, the new storm siren policy in Joplin should now be the same siren policy in the rest of Jasper County, as well as Newton County, and the Springfield area.

"Everybody had a different policy on when you set them off.  And so to standardize something like this, it really sets the stage to improve public safety for everyone," says Nimmo.

Now that the stage is set, it's time to see if the goal of everyone knowing about the new rules can be met.

Estes says, "We don't really understand what's going on.  So, are we going to sit and watch TV, or are we going to take cover?"

Emergency officials remind people that storm sirens should almost be the last source of information for dangerous situations.  Better sources are local media, radar, and weather radio.

Even though emergency officials say Jasper and Newton counties are following this new siren policy, sirens in Carl Junction still sound only once.  Again, there is no "all clear" siren.

Storm Siren Activation Policy for Joplin

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