LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – For decades the sound of a tornado siren has been an all-too-familiar one that alerts folks to the approach of threatening weather. However, more than 70 years ago these sirens weren't used for tornadoes. They warned citizens of something else coming from the sky.
"These sirens used to be called air raid sirens, or civil defense sirens secondary to World War Two," says MetroSafe public information officer Jody Duncan.
But these days do tornado sirens sound for just tornadoes?
Floyd County Emergency Management director Terry Herthel said their 18 sirens are triggered for radar-indicated tornadoes, reports of tornadoes from storm spotters and any squall line of storms moving through the area with a history of strong straight-line winds.
Across the river in Louisville it's a slightly different story.
For MetroSafe, the criteria for sounding the Metro's 120 sirens includes tornado warnings, storms with certain wind and hail threats, and even when there is a hazardous material spill situation.
With each county able to decide when their sirens are sounded, some feel that there should be statewide standards to limit confusion. There's now a proposed bill in Indiana seeking to do just that.
Back in Floyd County, Terry Herthel doesn't think a bill like this is the right way to go. He said, "All counties are so different, so to actually sit down and put something in stone, what we're going to do and when on sirens, I'd say it's going to be pretty hard-pressed to do."
Regardless of when the sirens are set off, many folks don't know they're not designed to be heard indoors. That's why emergency managers and meteorologists alike recommend having multiple methods of receiving weather warnings. Herthel even goes as far to say that, "weather radios are just as important as having a smoke detector in your home."
Weather radios paired with text and phone alert systems are the best bet for keeping your family informed during this upcoming severe weather season.
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