Boone County Evaluates Outdoor Warning Siren Protocols to Enhance Notification of Tornado Warnings
Boone County maintains a series of outdoor warning sirens intended to alert citizens of immediate danger resulting from tornado warnings. During the morning hours of March 1, 2017, the outdoor warning system was activated in response to a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service; however, the activation was delayed and not immediate. A prompt review was conducted to determine the cause of the delay. The result of the inquiry showed that several factors contributed including: extremely high call volumes at the Public Safety Communications Center caused by the on-going overnight storms; confusion in reporting from several media sources and issues with the alert from the Center’s weather radio. These factors help explain, but do not excuse the delay.
Ensuring that the public is informed during an emergency is a critical function of the Public Safety Communications Center. Following the review of this incident, The Center’s Director has implemented a series of protocol changes, training and equipment upgrades to address the situation and enhance the Center’s response for future events. These measures are being implemented immediately. Boone County will continue to work to improve these systems critical to public safety and ensure that communication to citizens is timely and effective.