Siren test April 11.

April 4, 2018

Siren test April 11.

#OceanaCountyEmergencyManagement

HART — Oceana County Emergency Management, in cooperation with Mason/Oceana 911 and local fire departments, will conduct a test of the county warning sirens Wednesday, April 11, at 1 p.m.

April 8–14 is National Weather Service Severe Weather Awareness Week, and on April 11 National Weather Service offices in Michigan are conducting a statewide simulated tornado drill.

“We chose to participate on the same date and time with a test of each our sirens and their activation from the Mason-Oceana Central Dispatch,” said Oceana County Emergency Coordinator James Durham.

The county has seven active sirens: Pentwater Village, Walkerville, Hart City, Shelby Village, Ferry, New Era, and Camp Miniwanca at Stony Lake. If there is any threatening weather in the area at test time, the test will be cancelled and rescheduled.

Duram reminds citizens that sirens, as tornado alerts, have significant limitations due to range and reduced effectiveness for those indoors and should therefore be considered as just one of several means of being alerted to severe weather. However, if one hears a siren blowing the long steady warning tone during possible stormy weather, it means a tornado warning has been issued; a tornado has been indicated in the immediate area; and you need to take shelter immediately.

Other good sources of weather alert information include local broadcast TV and radio, online new services, NOAA weather radio, programmed and with fresh batteries, and cell phone alerts. Duram notes that mobile alerting has made significant strides recently and that most modern smart phones will be automatically alerted if a tornado warning is indicated for the area the cell phone is in at the time of the warning. There are also free weather apps that provide weather alerting, including the American Red Cross Emergency App.

Duram also reminds us that tornadoes, while not common in our area, are certainly always a possibility and that we have a history of tornadoes. He also said that thunderstorm downdraft and straight-line winds, which West Michigan gets almost every year to some extent, can be very strong and potentially more dangerous due to a larger coverage area. During stormy weather, take shelter during any high wind event; consider every downed power line a live line; and don’t drive through moving water crossing a roadway.

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