Kentucky counties change tornado siren policy

Warning sirens in Boone, Campbell and Kenton to only be used when tornado warnings are issued


COVINGTON --

The three biggest counties in northern Kentucky are changing their siren policy.

"Effective immediately the Outdoor Warning Sirens in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties will be only be activated for severe weather when a TORNADO WARNING has issued by the National Weather Service or a funnel cloud or tornado has been sighted by a local public safety official," the counties' emergency management directors said in a joint news release Wednesday.

Previously, some counties would sound sirens if there was a severe thunderstorm warning during a tornado watch. The reasoning was that a severe storm could produce a tornado without warning.

But some residents would complain that because not all counties followed that plan, it was confusing. Some also complained that it made storms seem more dangerous than they were.

The EMA directors pointed out that the sirens are not designed to be the sole warning system.

"The systems are not designed to provide an audible alert for those persons indoors. The purpose is to TAKE COVER, TUNE IN to local TV or radio to become informed and then TAKE ACTION for their safety based on this information," they stated in the release.

Hamilton County is in the process of upgrading sirens to allow them to be sounded only in the parts of the county under the threat of a tornado.

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