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Hall County skips outdoor sirens for statewide drill

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 8:54 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Hall County participated in the statewide tornado drill but not in the way people are used to.

“Due to the number of technological changes in the way that the weather service was able to deliver that test, we decided locally not to activate our outdoor warning sirens in order to eliminate any sort of confusion,” said Hall County Emergency Management Communications Director Jon Rosenlund.

The National Weather Service did things differently this year. Instead of sending texts with a unique code to send out tornado warnings, they decided to use their weekly radio test to simplify the drill. It sends out test warnings but doesn’t run outdoor sirens and because of this, it was up to the counties to run them independently.

Hall County chose not to do it but they did test internally.

“Tools like the outdoor warning sirens in Hall County are tested twice a month and our internal warning systems are tested on a regular basis, our IPAWS system where we’re able to alert on the emergency alert, and our emergency alert system, the EAS, we test that on a monthly basis,” Rosenlund said.

Normally when the county runs outdoor sirens during the statewide drill and not on normal test days, people call 9-1-1 thinking it’s a real tornado. Officials said this scaled down test helps eliminate this issue.

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