Sirens can go off for reasons other than a tornado warning

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) – During Thursday's severe storms the tornado sirens sounded in Kennett but there was no tornado warning.  The sunshine and light breeze blowing through the trees Friday in Kennett is very different from what it was like here one day earlier.

"We experienced straight line winds of 60 miles per hour plus," said Kennett Director of Emergency Management John Mallott.

Mallott said they have nine sirens in the city and have plans to add more.  When the wind threat increased Thursday he and others watching the conditions activated their weather plan.

"It was time to activate the sirens to let people know you need to take shelter somewhere," said Mallott.

While the sirens are often called "tornado" sirens Mallott said that's not their only use.  He said strong winds, as we've witnessed in other parts of Region 8 this week, can cause serious damage.

"It can damage buildings, homes, topple trees in a larger area that can cause injury even death," said Mallott.

When the alarm sounded Thursday many went outside to ask others what was going on.  In fact, Mallott said this is a major problem in his area.  Many wait until the sirens are already sounding before they decide they need to find a safe place to wait out the storm.

"People have not taken the responsibility to pre-determine where they would seek shelter either at work at home," said Mallott.

He said they aren't out to scare anyone just to warn them of the potential for danger.  When the do sound the warning sirens it is done after a lot of close consideration.

"We have different eyes in the sky so to say and we rely on several layers human element as well as technology," said Mallott.

The sirens in Kennett are tested every Saturday at noon when there is clear weather.  Sirens in Jonesboro are tested on Thursday's at noon under the same type of conditions.

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