Butler County unveils county-wide tornado siren policy

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - Officials in Butler County unveiled their new county-wide tornado siren policy Wednesday morning; under the new plan authorities can sound the sirens in four different scenarios:

  • The National Weather Service issues a tornado warning
  • The National Weather Service identifies a Doppler indicated cell
  • A credible public sighting of a funnel cloud
  • A police chief, fire chief, sheriff or emergency management officials decides to activate the sirens
"The important fact is that we're all on the same sheet of music, that when the tornado sirens go off, we're all on the same page," said Fairfield Township Fire Chief David Downie.
"So, basically when you hear those sirens there is imminent danger or the possibility of a tornado, and that's when we want people to take action and take safety," said Jeff Galloway of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency.
In the event of a tornado warning 90 different sirens will all be set off simultaneously from seven dispatch centers in Butler County and one in Hamilton County, under the plan sirens won't be sounded for a tornado watch or thunderstorm warning.
"Our overall goal is the safety of everybody, and having one system so we don't have the confusion," Galloway said.
But, could confusion still exist since West Chester Township is opting out of the new policy?
"I think when it comes down to it, West Chester will abide by the county-wide policy," Galloway said.
Officials in Butler County say the new policy gives them more authority when it comes to sounding the sirens.
"Two Fairfield Twp. police officers spotted a funnel cloud at Bypass 4 and 129 and because we didn't have the authority that we currently have to have our sirens set off, because they're set off through a different dispatch center, we couldn't get that accomplished," Downie said.
The Butler County EMA also emphasizes that's residents shouldn't solely relay on the sirens, Downie recommends residents purchase a NOAA weather alert radio, to ensure families can hear the warnings if they're indoors.
"It's very important that you have that indoor notification, they're relatively cheap, you can program it to your county," Downie said. 
The policy was adopted July 1.

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