Following the cancellation of testing for outdoor warning sirens the last two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency managers in a number of Panhandle locations are getting ready for ramp up testing next week.
Dawes and Sioux County sirens will sound next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., and in Scottsbluff and Banner Counties a test will take place at 10 a.m.
Tim Newman, Region 22 Emergency Manager, tells KNEB News it will be the first comprehensive monthly testing of the systems this year to make sure sirens in the region work properly for severe weather, especially the older systems. “Any of the ones that actually turn, or use air, to create the sound, there’s always a failure points on those,” says Newman. “The electronic ones can fail, but it’s a lot less likely.
The City of Scottsbluff recently replaced the siren at Highway 26 and E. 27th Street with the newer style, leaving only the siren out at the Landers Soccer Complex awaiting an upgrade.
In addition, Newman says since severe weather awareness week was cancelled this year, it might also be a good time for an emergency plan review. “Anybody that wants to is encouraged to go over their severe weather safety plans at home or at work, obviously not at the schools since they’re closed, we encourage you to do that,” says Newman. “At least walk through the steps, and make sure you’ve got everything you need for the upcoming severe weather season.”
The Panhandle Alert and Smart 9-1-1 systems will not be activated for those in Scotts Bluff and Banner Counties, however the Code Red system will be used for those areas covered by Dawes County Emergency Dispatch, including Chadron, Crawford and Harrison, as their test involves a mock tornado warning.