In conjunction with the National Weather Service Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Pella Police Department will participate in the statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. Residents of Pella are encouraged to take this opportunity to familiarize themselves with the outdoor warning system’s various tones, and during the testing, focusing on the site best suitable to monitor in the event of an actual warning.
The first tone activated is a continuous steady siren, which during an actual warning indicates that portions of Marion County have been placed under a tornado warning by the National Weather Service. During the testing process, the public address system will be activated with a test message; however, in the event of an actual warning, the public address is only activated if a tornado has been sighted. Citizens are then advised of the sighting and to take immediate shelter. In the past there has been confusion deciphering the fire siren from the tornado siren. The siren activated for a fire call is a wail siren (tones that vary in pitch), versus the monotone siren of several minutes duration for a tornado alert. The pulsating air horn tone (all clear) is sounded after notification from the National Weather Service that the severe weather is no longer a threat to our community. It can be several minutes until the all clear is declared by the National Weather Service following an actual tornado warning being issued.
The community is reminded that this is an “outdoor” system and that the intent is to notify citizens outside their houses of severe weather. Persons capable of hearing the tones indoors are fortunate, and should tune to their local media for updates regarding the weather. Weather radios are beneficial for those residents who are concerned about notification inside their homes, and especially during the nighttime hours.
Businesses concerned about alerting their employees or patrons should consider purchasing a device that is activated as an indoor warning system. The device is normally located in an office where it can be monitored and thus notification of the workers is immediate. This notification process is also initiated from the police department following a cue from the National Weather Service. Business managers and owners should consider preparing a written procedure to keep staff and patrons safe.
Inquiries regarding the outdoor and indoor warning systems should be forwarded to the Pella Police Department, 614 Main, Pella, 628-4921, during business hours. Concerns about warning system sites not working properly should be referred to the police department as well. Each site has a battery back up in case of a power failure. Audible tests are conducted the first Saturday of each month.
We encourage residents to familiarize themselves with the testing and inquire about the system prior to an actual tornado warning activation. The police department requests that you limit phone calls during a storm warning to those needing immediate assistance. The police department thanks the citizens of Pella in advance for their cooperation.
***IF THERE IS ACTUAL SEVERE WEATHER APRIL 4, 2012, THE DRILL WILL BE POSTPONED TO APRIL 5, 2012 AT 10 AM.***