Severe Weather and Flood Safety Awareness Week March 17 – 23, 2024

    Posted: 3/15/2024

    COLUMBUS – Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) will observe Severe Weather and Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 17 - 23, 2024. FCEM&HS is urging residents to be proactive in preparing for unpredictable severe weather conditions that can occur anytime, anywhere without advanced notice.

    As part of this initiative, FCEM&HS is calling on the community to participate in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at 9:50 a.m.  During this drill, the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Sirens will be activated for a three-minute period with a longer tone than used during the regular Wednesday noon test. The test tone is the same “tornado warning” tone which would be used in an actual tornado warning was issued. It's the perfect opportunity for residents, schools, and businesses to practice their emergency response procedures. 

    "Living in Ohio, we know firsthand the unpredictable nature of our weather. That's why it's essential to stay informed and prepared.  This week serves as a vital reminder to have multiple channels for receiving emergency information," said Jeffrey J. Young, Director of Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security. “Many believe outdoor warning sirens are meant to alert everyone, everywhere. However, they are specifically designed to warn those outside. It’s equally important to have indoor alert systems including a NOAA Weather Radio and wireless emergency alerts including Let's take the opportunity this year not only to watch the storm pass but to actively prepare, ensuring we can weather any storm together."

    FCEM&HS activates the outdoor warning siren system by zones when the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Tornado Warning for Franklin County. This allows the system to align with the polygons issued by the NWS or the actual location of tornadic activity more closely in the area. The sirens will be activated if the county zone is within the NWS issued polygon. During a tornado warning, the sirens will sound for three minutes, followed by seven minutes of silence. This sequence will repeat until the warning is canceled.

    Residents are encouraged to be prepared for all types of severe weather including tornadoes and flooding by following these important safety procedures:

    Know the Risk – Learn and understand the different types of weather hazards facing Franklin County.  The top hazards can be found on the agency website at

    Know the Weather Terms – Know the difference between a watch and a warning. A tornado watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of a tornado in and close to the area. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been detected by radar or sighted by storm spotters.

    Have a Plan - Develop and practice an emergency plan with your family and include your pets. Know how you will communicate and have a designated safe meeting place.

    Build a Kit - Build an emergency supply kit.  Be sure to include enough food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity for each member of your household to last for at least 72 hours.