Bartlett cuts overuse of its sirens

Funnel cloud

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Bartlett residents can take the emergency sirens a little more seriously as of this month because they’re expected to go off less frequently.

Emergency management officials with the city believe people will respond better if the sirens only go off when Bartlett is directly threatened by a storm that could produce a tornado. To reduce the number of false alarms, Bartlett is partnering with the National Weather Service and Earth Networks.

Bartlett is able to operate its sirens with this exactness because of new procedures used by the National Weather Service as of June 1.

The service now issues tornado warnings using a more precise polygon format, warning specific forecast areas rather than entire counties. One of the most common reasons that people ignore warnings is the large number of false alarms that occur when warning systems alert entire counties instead of the smaller polygon areas.

The city’s outdoor tornado sirens alternate between three-minute blasts and two-minute silences until Bartlett is no longer affected by the tornado warning.

The city’s press release noted that the sirens are designed to alert citizens who are outdoors to seek more information through media or weather radios and to seek shelter accordingly.

Even though weather radios alert county wide and the city of Bartlett may not be affected by the warning polygon, all citizens are still encouraged to use a properly operating weather radio for alerts inside of their residences and during the night time hours.