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State Establishing Guidelines For Emergency Sirens

Last updated on Tuesday, June 26, 2012

(UNDATED) - The state is formalizing guidelines for counties to help them decide how many emergency sirens they need, and where they should put them.

New Department of Homeland Security regulations still leave it up to each county to decide whether it needs sirens at all.

General counsel George Thompson says some rural counties may be better served by weather radios for residents. But DHS recommends sirens for counties with more than four homes per acre, or for urban or commercial areas with more than 25-hundred people per square mile during the day.

The agency also recommends sirens near major highways -- it suggests a rule of thumb of 300 vehicles per hour, or five per minute.

It's up to the counties to decide not only whether to install sirens, but when to set them off. The only requirement is that the sirens sound for a tornado warning.

The guidelines parallel temporary recommendations already on the books. They should take effect in about two months.

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