Tornado sirens not required by state or federal laws

Published: Jul. 23, 2019 at 3:54 PM CDT
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After last week's storms, many NewsChannel 7 viewers are saying they did not hear sirens and asked why.

Turns out, state nor federal laws require municipalities to have sirens or how often they need to be inspected or tested.

In 2016 during Severe Weather Awareness Week,

looked into this, finding some municipalities are essentially phasing out the sirens. That's largely in part due to the cost. Municipalities are responsible to purchase and maintain the sirens, which also means paying someone to do that maintenance. Though, as stated above, there are no laws requiring maintenance.

Some municipalities that have them test them daily, others weekly, monthly, or less. Others do not test them at all, which of course, could mean they don't end up working when they need to.

Another reason for phasing them out is today's technology. People are more reachable than ever with smart phones and apps.

The National Weather Services also notes that sirens are meant for outdoor warning, not for people inside homes or businesses even though people often can hear them inside.

The NWS says every home and business should have a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio. They put it this way on their

, think of it as a "smoke detector for severe weather, and it can wake you up when a warning is issued for your area so you can take appropriate action."

Here comes a shameless plug, but people can always monitor NewsChannel 7 on television and with our free app, though not everyone has a smart phone and sometimes the power or signal goes out. That is again, why the NWS says the radio is necessary.

7 Investigates reached out the the three counties with the most damage from Saturday's storms, Langlade, Portage, and Wood, to see where their sirens are, if any.

Wood County responded saying all of the sirens on their county system sounded Saturday. They are located in Rudolph, Port Edwards, Grand Rapids, Nekoosa, Pittsville, Auburndale, and Vesper. Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids also have sirens but they are each on their own system.