Understanding emergency warning sirens

By Chief Dave Kolb, Champlin Police Chief

The Champlin Police Department maintains a network of six outdoor emergency warning sirens in Champlin. These sirens allow us to sound a warning to people who are outdoors when dangerous weather or other hazards exist. The sirens are tested at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month. If the sirens sound at any other time, some type of danger exists.

Two weather situations will result in the sirens sounding: tornado warnings or wind above 70 mph. This can be confusing. Sometimes a sever thunderstorm warning is issued but no sirens sound. Other times the sirens will sound during such a warning. The difference is that for most severe thunderstorm warnings the winds are between 58 mph and 69 mph. These are considered “damaging winds” that threaten to damage property. The sirens don’t sound for damaging winds. Sever thunderstorms with winds above 70 mph are “extreme winds.” They threaten ife safety and the sirens are sounded.

Outdoor warning sirens can also be sounded for non-weather dangers, which can take almost any form such as chemical spills, wild fires manmade disasters and more.

When you hear a siren take these two steps:

Get inside to shelter

2. Get information about the emergency. The Champlin Police Department has a very good working relationship with the area media outlets where timely and accurate weather information will be broadcast along with other emergency information when requested.

It is important to be aware that dangerous weather can still occur even without the sirens being activated. Sometimes dangerous weather can appear without warning, prohibiting enough time to sound the sirens. Additionally, when traveling outside Champlin it is important to know that many communities don’t have warning sirens.