Warning Sirens to be Tested in Biloxi

From:  City of Biloxi   6/14/17   GCN

Biloxi will soon hear sirens once a month as part of the city's emergency warning system.

The tests of the city's 10 warning sirens, which begin on July 5, will be conducted the first Wednesday of every month during hurricane season. The minute-long, citywide tests will be at noon.  The sirens are to help alert residents to the impending dangers of a tornado or hurricane. 

"We are putting them into effect to acclimate the public to the sound of the sirens," Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said. "There are two primary sounds we want the public to recognize, one for tornadoes and one for hurricanes, and we feel that an actual emergency situation is not the time that they should be introduced to the sound."

Boney hopes the monthly tests will prompt people to think about their plan of action in the event of an actual emergency.

"If at work, where would you shelter? If at home, where would you shelter?" Boney said.  "How is your family prepared? Have you developed an emergency plan with your family? What will happen if you cannot contact them during an emergency?"

During an actual emergency, the tones will be triggered by the National Weather Service issuing tornado or hurricane warnings for the area.  An actual warning siren will sound for three minutes instead of the one minute used for tests.

Once you hear the tones, you should seek safe shelter and tune to local media as well as the city's Facebook page for more information. For any concerns, call the Biloxi Police and Fire departments at 228-392-0641.

The 10 siren towers are positioned throughout the city. The locations are Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue; fire stations on Howard Avenue, Elder Street, Pass Road, Veterans Avenue, West Oaklawn Road, and Woolmarket Road; at the city's two fire stations on Popp's Ferry Road; and at a Coast Electric substation on Old Highway 67.

In addition to preparing the residents with warnings tones, the City of Biloxi is also hosting three preparedness outreach events next week.

The free "R U Ready?" events will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at three locations:
* Tuesday, June 20 at the Dr. Frank G. Gruich Sr. Community Center,

* Wednesday, June 21 at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center, and

* Thursday, June 22 at the Joppa Shrine Center. 

See the R U Ready? flyer
Visit the city's Storm and Flood Preparedness page 
Listen to the tornado warning tone 

Update  6/21/17: The sound of silence?

The city planned to test its emergency siren system next week, but a tornado warning today pressed the citywide system into service a week early, and it was obvious why testing was needed.

When the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning this morning, which is supposed to trigger the sounding of the sirens throughout the city, only a handful functioned properly.  

“We currently have a technician on the way to look into the issue,”Biloxi Emergency Manager and Fire Battalion Chief Michelle Crowley said. “We are working as quickly as possible to get all the sirens up and running as quickly as possible.”  

In the meantime, stay tuned to local news as well as the City of Biloxi’s Facebook page and the City of Biloxi Info line at 228-435-6300. 

 Released by Vincent Creel and Cecilia Dobbs Walton