HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio -- If you're in Hamilton County on Wednesday morning, you'll likely hear loud sirens sounding -- but it's nothing to be concerned about.
This week is Ohio Severe Weather Awareness Week and Hamilton County will sound its outdoor warning tornado sirens at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday.
"This is a great opportunity to encourage schools,public facilities, private companies, etc., to conduct a tornado drill," The Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency said in a press release.
During the test, an announcement will sound, saying "tornado warning test -- if this was a real event you would..." according to the press release.
Clermont County conducts tests on the first Wednesday of every month at noon, according to the Clermont County EMA's website. Butler County conducts tests on the same schedule; here's a list of where the Butler County outdoor tornado sirens are located.
Warren County's emergency sirens conduct "growl tests," or individual tests on a rolling basis. These tests last 5-15 seconds, according to the county EMA's website. Sirens will not be sounded individually for a real emergency.
In recent years, despite advancement in weather prediction technology, knowing what to do and being prepared when a storm strikes can increase your chances of survival. Follow these tips from the Colerain Township Fire Department:
- Routinely listen to weather reports, and know when conditions warrant a slight, moderate or severe threat for dangerous storms and keep informed of changing conditions. In case of a large power failure, have a portable battery radio or a NOAA weather radio as a back-up.
- Know the differences between a Weather Watch and a Weather Warning - heed any warning for your area.
- Know where you would seek shelter beforehand in your home, business, office, or at a public building. This area should be away from windows or potential flying debris, such as in a basement, and be of sufficient strength to withstand the brunt of any structural collapse.
- Once you know where you'd seek shelter, practice that place with the entire family.
- Have a back-up communications plan such as a relative away from the affected area to inform them that you are alright. Everyone in the family should be aware of the contact person and how to notify him or her. Don't rely solely on cell phones, as cell towers can fail in a storm or be overwhelmed by the number of calls trying to use them.
- Stock your shelter area at minimum with a battery operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, easily stored food such as granola or sports bars, and a sufficient supply of bottled water for the whole family.
- If there is no suitable shelter in your home, find either a nearby neighbor's home or a building in your area that is accessible and can act as your shelter. If you must drive to an alternate location, do so early in the warning period so that you would not get caught in the storm while in your automobile on the open road.
For more information on weather preparedness, contact Allen Walls, assistant chief of Colerain Township's Fire Department, at (513) 825-6143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.