|photo by Jonathan Schechter|
It is never the time to dial 911 when the outdoor warning sirens located on fire stations, utility poles and buildings throughout Oakland County scream their warnings. Yet every year when severe weather season arrives that's exactly what many residents do. As an outdoor writer with over 20 years experience working in emergency services I can assure you that the last thing 911 Operators, the Oakland County Sheriffs Department, your local police and fire departments and the news media want or need is you calling to plead your ignorance with the dreaded question, "Why are sirens on?" If you do not know by now, well, you are in a clueless state of existence, unless perhaps you are brand new to life in Oakland County.
Let me tell you something: It is not our government's job to protect you from your own sad lack of situational awareness. Nor is it the government's job to force you to take shelter or become weather aware. Emergency Services will be plenty busy dealing with the aftermath of a storm. Fact of the matter is clear: Your 911 call of inquiry during the three minute wail of our 231 sirens or afterwards as you plead, "Why were the sirens on?" slows down emergency preparedness and response.
It is your job to use common sense, protect your family and stay in the gene pool, or if you chose to ignore the forces of Mother Nature and the weather warnings, then go ahead and put yourself on the fast track to the Darwin Awards list. (Darwin Awards are for humans who weed themselves out of the gene pool forever by foolish, often ignorant and usually fatal behavior.) Just don't endanger the rest of us!
Sirens sound today, Saturday March 5th at 1 pm as a test of the Outdoor Warning Siren System.
It is only a test! Tests are usually on the first Saturday of every month during storm season.
Severe weather season is at our doorsteps. You need to pay attention to the weather and take action when warning sirens sound. And keep in mind you may not hear the sirens in your house or car or if you are self-absorbed in high-tech musical ear bud melodies.
The sirens are meant to warn those of us that are outside.
When the siren's activiation signal is transmitted by Oakland County Emergency Management, Response and Preparedness it means the National Weather Service issued a Torndao Warning and/or a Severe Thunderstorm Warning with winds of 70 mph expected.
And when that happens it is not time for you to make your plan.
The time for that is now; before a weather emergency.
Dialing 911 is not a plan.
It is a sign of your failure to be a responsible citizen.
A final tip: Buy a NOAA weather radio with battery back up and alert tone notification. These radios sound an alert 24/7 and give emergency weather situational awareness information.