The wail of a warning siren during inclement weather is unmistakable, and it’s also an invaluable warning tool alerting people who are outdoors to seek shelter immediately. Have you ever wondered what it takes to ensure Elk River’s sirens are ready to sound when called upon?
Elk River Fire Department’s Emergency Management Division maintains 19 outdoor warning sirens throughout the city. All sirens are monitored by a computer software system that tests each siren daily. If any issues are detected during daily testing, city staff is notified and additional testing takes place to ensure the siren is functioning properly. Also, the 19 sirens in Elk River periodically undergo full audits to ensure preventative maintenance and technology updates are being met. This year is an audit year, so don’t be surprised if you see city Building Maintenance staff out and about with a contractor checking sirens top to bottom.
Sirens (including city-owned sirens) are activated by the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office when the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning, and/or if there are reports of sustained straight-line winds in excess of 70 mph. It is important to note outdoor warning sirens may also be activated for non-weather related emergencies and are meant to notify people outside to get indoors.