Emergency officials talk siren policy following severe weather - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Emergency officials talk siren policy following severe weather

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As tornado and thunderstorm warnings came in Wednesday night, we got several calls and social media requests about weather alert sirens.  We spoke with several emergency management personnel around the area to see how they felt their response went.

EMA officials say about four funnel clouds were sighted by first responders around 7:30pm near Walkerton.  After many high alert warnings about severe weather from the National Weather Service, St. Joseph County Emergency Management deemed that the funnel clouds were sufficient grounds for sounding the alarms.  Usually St. Joe County will sound tornado sirens if there is a tornado that has touched ground.

The Nappanee fire department said that multiple funnel clouds were sighted coming in west of town.  The reports were made by unidentifiable emergency responders including firefighters, EMS, and police officers.  When Nappanee turns on their sirens, only the sirens in Nappanee will sound, not all of Elkhart County.

Plymouth had some issues with broken sirens on Wednesday.  Originally, two sirens were not functional.  They managed to get one operational before the severe weather came in, but the siren near the race track on the south end of Plymouth is still not working.  911 Director Mat Pitne says the manufacturer is working on this problem. 

The Marshall County Sheriff's Office says they base whether they set off the sirens on calls from the NWS, weather spotters, fire fighters, or any emergency responders. The Plymouth fire department also added that citizen reports are always taken very seriously. Funnel clouds are severe enough that Marshall County will set off their sirens if there is more than one, even if it hasn't touched down.

What was your experience last night?  Share your story in the comments below.

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