Fairfield County Officials To Review Tornado Siren Policies


The eerie wail of a tornado siren lets you know it’s time to take cover.

10TV has learned Fairfield County is reviewing its procedure for what should trigger that alarm.

Fairfield County's Emergency officials say an alert from the Weather Service or a confirmed sighting by a trained spotter are the only things that will set off tornado sirens in the county.

The EMAA Director says last year, a trained weather spotter called in a tornado sighting and that triggered the sirens.

Ultimately, he says the National Weather Service said there was nothing on the radar. Now, the agency is reviewing the policy.

People in the Lancaster area say it was clear Wednesday something strong was heading their way.

"The TV was going on about the storm, and the wind damage of stuff coming through,” said David Amos of South Lancaster.

"I was watching the wind, the clouds, the rain, the way the rain was falling pretty much all of it,” said Afrique Peters of Lancaster.

Then they heard the tornado sirens go off.

"I heard them a couple of times,” said Afrique Peters “And I sat on the porch and watched "

The Director of the Fairfield County Emergency Management Agency, Jon Kochis, says using trained spotters has been policy since the inception of the alert system.

He says the agency wants to look at whether the policy is still useful with the new technology, and radar, the National Weather Service uses.

“It's really a review of the policy to see if our weather spotters should be able to call in and alert that siren based on that call alone,” Jon Kochis, Director of the Fairfield County Emergency Management Agency, “One single call could mean the whole siren being set off."

Director Jon Kochis say sirens aren't the only piece of the warning puzzle, and today the agency launched its cell phone APP.

"We want to reach everyone and it may take several different tools to reach everyone. So this might be the one thing that somebody's been waiting for," said Kochis

Kochis says he wants to stress this does not mean the policy will discontinue but rather a review of whether the policy is still useful.