FRANKLIN COUNTY OUTDOOR WARNING SIREN SYSTEM
The Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System consists of 196 outdoor warning sirens located throughout all 42 jurisdictions and Franklin County. 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 siren networks in Ohio and the Country.
The primary function of the siren system is to warn residents who are outside to seek shelter immediately and monitor local media, social media and/or a NOAA weather radio for more information. Please remember that outdoor warning sirens are designed to be heard outside. They are not meant to be heard indoors.
Traditionally, FCEM&HS activated the sirens countywide when the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Tornado Warning for any portion of Franklin County. To more accurately and effectively warn the public, FCEM&HS now activates the Outdoor Warning Siren System by zones. The new activation procedure divides the county into four warning zones (NW, NE, SW and SE) based upon the countywide street grid (Broad/High). These four zones allow the existing system the flexibility to more closely align siren activations with warning polygons issued by NWS or the actual location of tornadic activity in Franklin County. 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 is cancelled in that zone. The siren system does not deliver an all clear signal once the warning has expired.
To ensure functionality, the siren network is tested every Wednesday at noon. If there is a threat of severe weather, the test is cancelled to avoid confusion. In addition, on the first Wednesday of every month, a test of the siren’s public address system (the voice function) is performed. The public address system may be used to convey messages about emergencies other than tornadoes.
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. Beyond notification, FCEM&HS 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.