Tornado warning prompts questions about Kent Co. sirens

Posted at 5:17 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 18:20:41-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A large group of people took to social media Wednesday night to raise questions about hearing Kent County’s siren during a tornado warning.

Kent County Emergency Management Lt. Lou Hunt says there are a number of reasons why people may not have heard weather sirens — but ensured all 130 around the county went off around 8 p.m. when the warning was issued.

Based on Hunt’s prior experience, he listed a variety of reasons why people couldn’t hear the sirens.

“You could have already been in your basement, you could have new construction or new windows or tight-fitting doors,” he said. “You could have the news on, the weather radio on, you could have your regular music radio on. There can be a variety of reasons why you might not hear those in the moment."

Hunt encourages people to rely on more than the sirens to stay safe during storms, including apps, TV alerts and radio.

When an event warrants a weather siren being activated, every siren in the county goes off regardless of where it is.

"We have a very large county. When we enact our sirens in our county, it's all of our sirens. So, it's not selective to different areas,” Hunt said. “We could have a severe weather event at the northern end of our county and the people at the southern end are going to hear those sirens as well."