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Warning System Events
The Outdoor Warning Siren Systems Test will occur every Wednesday at noon
Point of Contact

Steven E. Smith
Warning Systems Program Manager

What's New

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Statewide Tornado Drill Held Wednesday, March 22, 2017 AT 9:50 a.m.

Part of Ohio’s Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 19-25, 2017

Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) is urging the community to participate in the Statewide Tornado Drill at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 when the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System will be activated. The sirens will be activated one time for three minutes – a longer tone than in the regular Wednesday noon tests. The test tone will be the same “tornado warning” tone which would be used in an actual tornado warning.

The 9:50 a.m. March 22nd siren activation will be in place of the regular weekly Wednesday noon test of the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System. 

For more information on how to participate in the tornado drill click here. An online participation survey can be accessed above by clicking on Statewide Tornado Drill Participation Survey.

“The annual Statewide Tornado Drill is the perfect opportunity for schools, businesses and families to discuss and practice their emergency plan,” said Jeffrey J. Young, Director, Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security.  “Regardless of where you are, it’s important to know what to do and where to go when severe weather strikes.” 

The drill is part of Ohio’s Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 19th-25th, to remind the public that with spring comes the possibility of tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, hail, lighting strikes, and power outages. 

NOTE: In an actual tornado warning: FCEM&HS will activate the entire Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System as soon as the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for any part of Franklin County. All 196 sirens in the system will be activated even if the warning area covers only part of the county. The sirens will remain activated for as long as the warning is in effect but will not sound continuously – they will sound for three minutes at a time, then be silent for a seven-minute rest period, then repeat this cycle until the warning is cancelled. NWS will issue a tornado warning for an area when a tornado is spotted or radar indicates a tornado is imminent.

FCEM&HS, a government agency serving 42 local jurisdictions in Franklin County, coordinates countywide emergency and disaster planning, education, warning, response and recovery.


Tornado Safety

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent windstorms – even weak ones can cause significant damage and fatalities. Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security activates the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Franklin County. If your area is under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately!


Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security would like to offer the following safety preparedness information about tornadoes to help keep you and your family safe.

Location: Actions:


  • Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.

   Trailer/Mobile Home

  • Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.


  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.


About The FCEM&HS Warning Program

The FCEM&HS Warning Program coordinates the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System.  This system consists of 195 outdoor warning sirens which reach hundreds of thousands of citizens in an emergency within seconds of activation. When activated, the outdoor warning sirens alert residents with tones or a spoken message which can be transmitted for other types of emergencies if needed. The Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System is one of the largest in Ohio and the United States.

The Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System can be activated at three different activation points throughout the county.  FCEM&HS serves as the primary activation point and activates the outdoor warning sirens when a Tornado Warning is issued for Franklin County by the National Weather Service (NWS).  Once activated the outdoor warning sirens will sound with a tone for 3 minutes followed by 7 minutes of silence, this sequence will continue until the warning in canceled. The siren system does not deliver an all clear signal once the warning has expired. The primary function of the siren system is to warn residents who are outside to seek shelter and monitor local media outlets or a NOAA weather radio for rapid weather changes.

Beyond notification, the FCEM&HS Warning Program is charged with testing, scheduling siren maintenance, upgrading of antiquated parts, complying with FCC mandates, policy planning for addition of sirens within the network and ensuring the siren network operates effectively.

Other components of the FCEM&HS Warning Program include the Siren Watch Program, ClearChannel Outdoor Electronic Billboards, Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), NOAA Weather Alert Radios, FCEM&HS Community Emergency Notification, and various Smartphone Emergency Notification Systems. 

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