What you need to know about tornado sirens - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

What you need to know about tornado sirens

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Amarillo, TX - Around 90 outdoor warning sirens cover the Potter and Randall county area, to alert people outdoors of severe weather.

You can hear the big sirens from about a mile away and the smallest ones for about one third of a mile.

We spoke with the city of Amarillo's Emergency Management Coordinator, Kevin Starbuck, about how severe weather conditions have to be for sirens to go off.

"We have specific criteria for activating the sirens. A tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service, a trained spotter in the field who spots a rotating wall cloud, a funnel cloud or a tornado on the ground. In either of those situations we take that information and we will sound the sirens"

Starbuck says when you hear the sirens it is time to take shelter immediately.

"Go to your safe room or your safe location in your home, your business or your home and do that immediately. Because when we do that it means we have a threat that is real to our community."

However, sirens can not be heard by everyone around town and in rural communities.

"It is designed to be an outdoor warning system and I know a lot of people think that just because we have 90 sirens in our community that we can count on those 90 sirens to wake me up in the middle of the night and to alert me anywhere I'm at and that is just simply not the case"

So a weather radio or an emergency app on your phone may be a good option.

But the best way to be prepared for a storm is to have a set plan before it hits.

"There is just a lot of material available online either online or through publications on what you need to do and how to take shelter. You really need to have a plan in place for those storms threatening our community."