ALGONA, Iowa – Severe weather systems that moved through the area over the weekend put outdoor warning sirens to the test across north Iowa.
Kossuth County was one county tested the most as two potential tornadoes were sighted in the area on Sunday afternoon.
These sirens are crucial for keeping folks safe and out of harm’s way when bad weather rolls in, and Dave Penton, the emergency management coordinator for Kossuth County, tells us that these devices are invaluable.
However, he says they’re only helpful if they are in good working condition.
Penton says that Kossuth County does a number of maintenance checks to all of their sirens to make sure that everything is good to go. Audible tests take place every Tuesday, assuming weather conditions are favorable, to make sure they are working properly.
Just in case these tests aren’t enough, Penton says they always have a backup plan.
“If we activate that siren, and it doesn’t work, then we count on those responders to go to their fire station or wherever their manual switch is, and turn it on,” he says, “ if it still doesn’t turn on, they’re able to drive through these cities then with their sirens on and use their PA systems to alert the citizens that there is a problem or incoming storm.”
He goes on to say that the sirens are activated by city or county storm spotters and warnings can last for ten minutes, but can be repeated if conditions continue to be dangerous.