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Outdoor Sirens
Outdoor Warning System
Allen operates fourteen outdoor warning sirens that sound during severe weather events, including large hailstorms, heavy winds and tornado warnings. Though the sirens are placed strategically throughout the city, they are designed to warn people who are outdoors. People who are inside may not hear them, as air conditioning, thunder, wind, rain and other conditions can drown out the sound.

The City of Allen highly recommends each home and business have other means to receive warnings and notifications, including internet, radio, television or a NOAA waether radio.

Where to Go
If you hear a siren, you should take shelter immediately. Remember that thunderstorms can produce a tornado with little or no warning.
  • In homes or small buildings: Go to an interior room on the lowest level, such as a closet or bathroom. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Crawl under a sturdy surface, such as a heavy table or desk. Cover yourself with thick padding, such as blankets or a mattress. Use your arms to cover your head and neck to protect against flying debris.
  • In schools, hospitals, factories or shopping centers: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest level. Stay away from glass-enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head and neck. Centrally located stairwells are good shelter.
  • In cars or mobile homesAbandon them immediately! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or shelter. 
  • If no suitable structure is nearby: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head. Be alert for flash floods!

Siren Policy
 
Sirens are activated when a tornado or other threat to the area exists. Allen Emergency Management determines potential threats based on the evaluation of all available information. This may include, but is not limited to:
  • National Weather Service watch and/or warning text
  • Weather radar
  • Reports from trained weather-spotters or public safety officers. 

All sirens are sounded unless the threat is clearly confined to an individual zone(s), in which case sirens can be sounded individually. Sirens will sound for three minutes initially, and then intermittently throughout the warning period as needed.


Warning Signals 
Weather Alert Signal
The sirens will sound a wail tone for three (3) minutes to indicate the following:
  • Hail 1 inch or greater in size
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning from the National Weather Service with winds forecast more than 70 mph
  • Tornado Warning from the National Weather Service naming Allen in the path

Attention Signal

The sirens will sound pulsed-steady tones followed by an announcement providing information regarding the type of alert or warning. 

General Alert Signal 
The sirens will sound a steady tone for three (3) minutes. This indicates a hazardous materials incident or other emergency that could affect public health, safety or property. 

Public Address System 
The sirens can be used to make public address announcements with or without any combination of sounds or tones. An attention tone may be issued to draw attention to the warning system before a public address announcement is made.

Testing 
The system is capable of complete diagnostic testing without disturbing the public. The system computer checks the siren speakers, amplifiers and other components constantly and reports any malfunctions to the system manager.

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