Outdoor Warning Siren System Overview
Sarpy County’s Outdoor Warning Siren System consists of 65 sirens that serve to alert residents to take shelter indoors and seek more information. While the outdoor warning system can be an effective method of notifying those that are outdoors, to seek shelter indoors, it is only one part of a comprehensive emergency warning system. To receive emergency information during severe weather or other hazardous event you should get a NOAA weather radio, familiarize yourself with the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and tune in to local media reports, from television, radio, or social media.
Designed as an outdoor warning system, the sirens should not be relied upon to give sufficient warning indoors or in noisy areas. Air conditioning, thunder, wind, rain, and other conditions can cause the sirens not to be heard indoors or outdoors, even if sirens can be heard during monthly tests. Sirens are also subject to lightning strikes and other equipment malfunction. For these reasons, everyone is encouraged to have multiple ways to receive information about severe weather and other hazards.
There are four basic criteria that Sarpy County EMA uses to activate the sirens:
- The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Tornado Warning for a portion of Sarpy County.
- A trained and certified weather spotter or a local public safety official reports a tornado within Sarpy County to the NWS, Sarpy County EMA, or Sarpy County 911.
- When Sarpy County EMA or Sarpy County 911 receives credible reports of damage or the imminent threat of sustained winds greater than 73 mph.
- A dangerous situation occurs which requires residents to seek shelter immediately.
Due to the small geographical size of Sarpy County, all sirens are activated at the same time. During an activation, sirens will be sounded for about three minutes. There is no “all-clear” siren. Sirens may sound multiple times if additional warnings are issued or additional hazards emerge.
For more information about NOAA Weather Radio please visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/. The frequencies serving Sarpy County are 162.400 out of Omaha and 162.475 out of Lincoln. The Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) number for Sarpy County is 031153. For more information about the Emergency Alert System (EAS) please visit https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-system.