Tornado sirens leave some gaps in coverage

Emergency managers recommend second alert system

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - Storm sirens are one way of finding out if severe weather is on the way, but emergency managers say families shouldn't rely on them as their sole means of being warned about an approaching storm.

Many communities place sirens in areas where they can notify people who may be outside and not have access to a television or radio.

Matt May, Johnson County's emergency manager, estimates sirens cover 96 percent of Johnson County's population. However, a map posted on the emergency management website shows some areas are not covered.

That's why he recommends families have a secondary form of receiving alerts — like a weather radio.

"If you are in your basement of your house, there is no expectation to hear those sirens. So we expect you to use other warning tools: weather radio, television, etc." May said.

Also, with homes having better insulation, it may be difficult to hear the sirens while sleeping.

Weather radios turn on when the National Weather Service issue alerts to warn you about approaching storms. They typically run around $30.

You can also download the "Storm Shield" app for $4.99. It alerts you of approaching severe weather and also allows you to view the radar. It also has a live stream of our broadcasts which may be helpful if you lose power or are in an area without a television.

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