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Emergency Management is Planning to Save Your Life


Madison County Outdoor Warning Siren System

Click to hear the steady tone used for tornado warnings.

Map of siren locations in Madison County(.pdf file)
Notice: The areas depicted on the siren coverage map are estimates of coverage based on specifications from the siren manufacturer. Terrain, weather conditions, foliage, background noise and other factors can affect actual coverage. In some areas the coverage may be greater or less than depicted.

The Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency's siren warning system is the result of seven years of research and development. The siren warning system is a culmination of the Comprehensive Warning Study that was developed and approved by the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Board and staff in 1993. The siren warning system is a progressive, state-of-the-art computerized system that can be activated from the Emergency Operations Center or the Madison County 911 Center. The computer screen is monitored by Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management, Huntsville Fire and Rescue Dispatch, and Sharp Communication.

Activation of the siren warning system, using today's technology, will allow the Emergency Management Agency to immediately activate sirens for a tornado warning or other emergency utilizing a computer interface. The system utilizes Weather Warn's polygon activation software to detect when a tornado warning has been issued for a specific area of Madison County. The software then notifies the outdoor warning siren system to sound only in the warned area. The computerized control system performs two daily maintenance checks for each siren to pinpoint any malfunctions that may occur. A check is also automatically performed after the system is sounded for a test or warning. Action can then be taken to correct a malfunctioning siren.

The purpose of an outdoor siren warning system is to alert persons outside of their home, school, business, etc. of potential danger. The sirens are sounded whenever a tornado warning is issued for Madison County. They may be activated for other life threatening situations which require emergency preparedness response actions by the population. It is important that you have at least 2 or more methods to receive a warning! Any single method can fail. Other methods include NOAA weather Radio to alert you indoors and at night, cellular phone apps, local television meteorologists, subscription based services that call your cell or home phone for notification as well as other methods.

Upon hearing the siren at times other than the normally scheduled test, citizens should immediately tune in to local radio or television stations for information concerning the siren activation.

During a tornado warning, citizens should exercise their tornado preparedness plan and take cover immediately in the best available protective area that they have identified. Businesses should also exercise their severe weather plan.

For other emergencies which would necessitate the activation of sirens, the public should stay tuned to local radio and television stations for further instructions.

The siren warning system is tested the first Wednesday of the month at noon, except during instances of threatening weather or City of Huntsville holidays. If the test is postponed due to inclement weather or a holiday, the test will be re-scheduled for the following Wednesday at noon. In the event that there is inclement weather or a holiday on that date, the test will be conducted on the next normally scheduled first Wednesday test date.

The Emergency Management Agency encourages all Madison County citizens to prepare for their own safety by purchasing a NOAA Weather Alert Radio to assure they receive warnings of life threatening situations inside their homes, businesses, etc. Citizens are also encouraged to develop individual and family plans so they can react quickly to emergency warnings and instructions to protect themselves from injury and possible death. Individuals may only have seconds to reach and move to a place of safety.

The siren warning system covers approximately 75% of the entire Madison County population, including approximately 95% of the population in the City of Huntsville and approximately 99% of the City of Madison. Siren sites were selected to cover the following target groups:

• Residential areas with high-density populations

• Outdoor recreation areas such as ball parks, golf courses, stadiums, parks and playgrounds, and in areas where special outdoor events are held such as Panoply of the Arts.

• Educational Facilities

• Shopping Centers

The Comprehensive Warning Study has been updated, and new locations for sirens have been identified to reflect the changes in population density within Madison County.

The Huntsville-Madison County area is no stranger to tornadoes and the devastation that they can cause. Huntsville-Madison County's most devastating tornadoes occurred on April 3-4, 1974; November 15, 1989; May 18, 1995; April 27, 2011 and March 2, 2012. These tornadoes caused extensive property damage and in some instances loss of life. The National Weather Service has recorded 139 tornadoes in Madison County since 1950. Of those, 48 were EF2 or stronger and 9 of those were among the strongest at EF4 and EF5. Given this information, it is clear to see that having an effective warning system and a populace that takes the appropriate action when warnings are sounded, can help save lives.

If you have any questions about the siren warning system, or need to know the closest siren location to your home or place of business, please call the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency at (256) 427-5130.



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