Warnings: Sirens, Radios and Wireless Emergency Alerts
Many smartphones now carry Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). These are 90 character text-like messages that are sent to your phone if you are located in an area under a tornado, flash flood, or if you are traveling in areas prone to them hurricane, tsunami or similar warning. They also receive AMBER Alerts for your location and Presidential Alerts for national emergencies. They are 100% free, and travel through a different method than cell calls or text messages so they will reach you even when those systems are overloaded. Because they are only 90 characters long you will need to seek out additional information about the threat should you get a WEA warning for your location. Check with your carrier to see if your phone can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts.
Ramsey County tests the Outdoor Warning Sirens - 1st Wednesday of the month at 1:00 P.M. year round.
Many communities have installed outdoor warning siren systems to provide an additional warning of impending danger. As their name implies, these sirens are intended to be heard outside. The system is not designed or engineered to be heard inside every building in the coverage area. If you are outside when the sirens sound, seek shelter immediately and turn on a TV to a local channel, local radio, or NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio to be informed of the emergency. DO NOT CALL 9-1-1 OR ANY OTHER EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBER UNLESS YOU HAVE EMERGENCY INFORMATION TO REPORT (for example, the sighting of a funnel cloud or other emergency).
During severe storm season, you can be prepared for severe weather by simply listening to the forecast before you leave home. It is recommended that every home, school and business is equipped with a NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio. When they are not dispensing watch and warning information, these valuable tools will provide you with detailed forecast information. In addition, you can often obtain the forecast from area radio and television stations. Detailed forecasts are also available on the Internet from a number of sites such as The National Weather Service.
Ramsey County uses the Outdoor Warning Sirens to warn the public for many types of disasters. When the sirens sound it is imperative to seek shelter and turn on a TV to a local channel, local radio, or NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio to be informed of the the hazard and what steps to take to protect yourself and your family.
All-Hazards Emergency Messages on NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio
Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service (NWS) warnings, watches, forecasts, and other non-weather related hazard information 24 hours a day. During an emergency, NWS forecasters interrupt routine weather programming and send out a special tone that activates weather radios in the listening area. Weather radios equipped with a special alarm tone feature can sound an alert and give you immediate information about a life-threatening situation.
NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards - weather (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods), natural (such as earthquakes, forest fires, and volcanic activity), technological (such as chemical releases, oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies, etc.), and national emergencies. Working with other Federal agencies and the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System (EAS), NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio is an all-hazards radio network, making it the single source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information available to the public.
Life-threatening weather emergency messages are alerted on NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio. Many of those same weather-related emergency messages are also broadcast via the Emergency Alert System. Local National Weather Service (NWS) offices alert and broadcast non-weather related emergency messages on NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio provided to them directly by local and state government officials. For non-weather emergencies, the system is activated by the NWS at the request of local and/or state officials. The NWS does not initiate the contact nor the message.
When a non-weather emergency occurs, and local or state officials wish to broadcast a message about it on NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio, the officials provide text information about the hazard and the appropriate response directly to the local NWS offices to alert and broadcast the emergency message on NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio. NWS offices have set up prearranged agreements to facilitate and speed the process, since minutes and seconds make a difference. In most areas, the local and/or state office of emergency management or preparedness (possibly civil defense, police or mayor/commissioner) is the agency responsible for establishing linkages necessary for dissemination on systems such as the Emergency Alert System and NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio.