Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Emergency sirens being tested today

Severe-storm season nearing

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sirens will sound throughout Northern Kentucky this morning as part of a statewide drill for Severe Storms Awareness Month.

"A lot of times, people become complacent and take our emergency alert system for granted," said Ray Bowman, a spokesman for Kentucky Emergency Management. "We want to put a little more emphasis on our warning system this time of year because we're heading into the severe storm season."

In Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, emergency warning sirens will emit a steady tone for three minutes at mid-morning, local emergency management directors said. Weather radios also will sound alerts, and local radio and TV stations will run messages indicating that they're testing the emergency alert system.

In Campbell County, officials said they wanted to publicize this morning's test because it will be the first time that all 19 outdoor sirens have sounded. Normally, that county does a "quiet test" of its sirens by testing their electronic components without activating the sound.

During an actual alert, residents should go inside and get information on severe weather or a natural disaster from weather radios or the electronic media, said Ron Schneider, deputy director of the Campbell County emergency management.

In all three Northern Kentucky counties, outdoor sirens are sounded for a tornado warning, severe thunderstorm warnings issued during tornado watches and a funnel cloud sighting by public safety personnel.

Through March 16, Northern Kentucky emergency management personnel will staff an informational booth on Severe Storms Awareness Month at the Florence Mall, said Bill Fletcher, deputy director of Boone County Emergency Management. The booth will operate from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.

E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com

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