Storm Safety & Prep

What is an Outdoor Warning Device?

The most common and widely recognized method of warning is through the use of outdoor warning sirens. They are used by communities for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Testing – Starting May 16th, 2018 at 1:00 pm, every 3rd Wednesday every month (canceled only due to possible severe weather, etc.)
  • Severe weather including tornados.
  • Major hazardous material spills or leaks.

During emergencies, residents will hear a 3 minute steady signal of the sirens. The sound range of a siren is about one mile, depending on the surrounding terrain.

When you hear the siren and are unsure what they are sounding for, go indoors and turn your radio or TV on to one the Emergency Alert Stations (all TV stations and most radio stations in the metro region are EAS equipped) and listen for essential emergency information. If impending weather is issued, turn your TV on or listen to a weather radio for information. Do not call local fire or police agencies to ask why the sirens are sounding. If it is an emergency, they are busy getting equipment and manpower to the emergency scene or to spot of inclement weather.

No "all clear" signal is issued. That is why it is important to monitor your local radio, TV stations, and weather radio during times of emergency for further information.

The Emergency Management Director and the City Administrator have determined the policy for sounding warning sirens. Currently, the National Weather Service will issue a tornado warning for the City, then the sirens will be sounded at the minimum 3-minute steady signal and will continue till the warning has expired. Warnings are only issued if the City is in the path of the warning issued by the National Weather Service.

Activation of the sirens are radio activated by Harrisonville Dispatch, trained weather spotters, and observers will monitor the emergency.

Why can't I hear the sirens in my house?

The siren warning system was not designed to be a warning device for people inside their homes—it was designed for people that are outside of their homes, away from radio or televisions, which may be broadcasting warnings.

To add additional protection while you are inside, purchase a weather alert radio. These weather alert radios can be purchased at many retail stores. If you purchase a radio with the SAME feature (Specific Area Message Encoding), the receiver is capable of turning itself on from a silent mode when the signal for your area is sent out. These radios can be programmed for specific areas, so you do not receive alerts from areas far away.

Harrisonville Emergency Services are here to help you with setting up your radio weather if needed. Find out more about Severe Weather Watches and Warnings (PDF).