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Posted on: February 17, 2023

Outdoor Warning Siren System Testing Change

For Immediate Release -  Poweshiek County Emergency Management

Keller-Wierson Outdoor Warning Siren System Testing Change

Although it may not seem like it with our recent weather, we are quickly approaching severe weather season and the time of year that Poweshiek County begins to test the Outdoor Warning Sirens (OWS). Last year, Poweshiek County Emergency Management was able to complete a county-wide OWS project updating all 17 sirens in the communities across the county, With this new system comes some changes to the way the sirens will be tested to ensure they work properly and provide the necessary warning to the public. Beginning this spring, the OWS will only be tested once a month. The new system provides daily and real-time feedback on the status of each siren to ensure its readiness making the past practice of weekly testing obsolete. Beginning in March the sirens will be tested on the first Saturday of the month at 10 AM. During these monthly tests, the sirens will activate for a full 3-minute warning cycle. This allows the sirens to be tested on both the AC power (grid power) and DC power (battery/generator backup) systems. The sirens will be tested monthly from March through November and only if there is no inclement weather occurring. If on the first Saturday the sirens are unable to be tested due to weather, the second Saturday will be used. 

As a reminder, the OWS are only meant to provide warning to people outside that may not have another means of receiving a warning; though depending on your proximity to a siren, you may hear them while indoors, however they are not designed to provide warning to those that are indoors. The sirens are only activated for tornado warnings and wind speeds at or above 70 MPH.

Poweshiek County Emergency Management encourages everyone to have multiple ways of receiving weather warnings such as enabled cell phones, TV, radio, weather radio, or by signing up for alert messaging on our webpage and clicking on the Alert Iowa icon.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 27-31, 2023, with the statewide tornado drill at 10 AM on Wednesday the 29th. We encourage everyone to review their severe weather plans and policies and conduct a tornado drill at work, school, and home. For additional preparedness tips visit or clicking on the Preparedness Tips icon on our webpage.

Follow-up questions and inquiries can be directed to Poweshiek County Emergency Management 641-623-4357

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