Siren FAQ

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Are outdoor warning sirens my only way of receiving information?

No, there are multiple ways to receive severe weather and emergency notifications, especially tornado warnings. Those methods include:

When are the sirens activated?

Generally speaking, sirens are activated if a tornado warning is issued for a specific area or a funnel cloud/tornado is reported by a trained spotter. For specific information on this, click on the Siren Activation Guide in the Outdoor Warning Sirens section of this website.

What actions should I take when I hear the outdoor warning sirens?

If it is during a regular test, consider your actions and plan as if it were a real event. If it is not during a regular test, seek shelter immediately! Tune in to a local media outlet for more information. Stay away from all windows and doors and remain in a safe place (lowest level possible) until the storm has passed. It is important to remember that any thunderstorm can produce a tornado with little or no warning.

Is there an "all clear" signal?

No. If the sirens are activated again, it is to warn you that a new threat has entered your area or the initial threat is still present.

I can hear the siren during testing days, but I did not hear it during the actual emergency. Is there something wrong with the siren?

Not necessarily. During testing days, conditions are calm and often times windows are open and you may be outside in your yard. During a severe storm, you should be inside with windows and doors shut. Furthermore, the TV or radio may be on and rain and/or hail may be hitting your house. All of those factors make it more difficult to hear the siren. Remember, these are outdoor warning sirens and meant to be heard when you are outdoors and may not be heard while inside buildings or homes.

I heard there was a tornado in my area, but the sirens never went off. Why?

If a storm produces a tornado that is not an imminent threat to life safety in a specific area, sirens will not be sounded. In other words, if the tornado appears outside of your community and the storm system is moving away from your community, sirens will not be activated. We do not want to over warn citizens and every attempt is made to only activate the sirens when a threat affects your area.

A siren did not go off during a test or a real event. What should I do?

If the siren is located in Atlanta, Burden, Cambridge, Creswell Township (Parkerfield), Dexter, Rock, Strother Field, Udall, Winfield or the Winfield City Lake, contact Cowley County Emergency Management at (620) 221-0470 or by email at If the siren is located in Arkansas City or Bolton Township (IXL), call Arkansas City Emergency Management at (620) 441-4454.

The siren in my area just doesn’t sound right. It does not seem as loud or I can’t hear it like it used to. Who should I contact?

See the contact information in #7. Some sirens in communities have been moved over the past couple of years so some may sound different.

How do I find siren locations and their coverage areas?

Check out the Siren Locations Map. Please note that if you want siren maps for Arkansas City or Bolton Township (IXL), call (620) 441-4454.

EM Quick Links
General Information
Phone Numbers
Winfield: 620-221-0470 Arkansas City: 620-441-4569
Emergencies: Dial 911
321 East 10th Avenue

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