Getting the Warning

How do you get warnings?

Lucas County EMA maintains a network of 131 outdoor warning sirens that are activated by Lucas County Sheriff's dispatchers for monthly tests, severe weather warnings, and acts of terrorism. The dispatcher will activate sirens across Lucas County when a TORNADO WARNING is issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) or upon a report from public safety officers of an actual siting of a tornado. Additionally, the full compliment of sirens may also be activated under orders from senior public safety officials should an ACT OF TERRORISM occur which threatens the local population. Select sirens may also be activated for residents of Jerusalem Township to alert the public of an accident at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station that may threaten the health and safety of the public within ten miles of the facility.

Weather Radio

Outdoor Warning Siren Facts

Weather warnings are officially issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) and are received by the Lucas County Sheriff’s Dispatch.

In the event of a tornado sighting, prior to an official NWS warning; Law Enforcement, Fire / EMS personnel or Trained-Spotters can request that the sirens be activated.

The system is NOT activated for thunderstorms, unless those storms are predicted to include 75 mph or higher winds (which has the potential to create severe damage/ destruction and loss of life; similar to a tornado).

The warning sirens will NOT be activated to signal an “all clear”.

In the event that a previously issued tornado warning expires, and the NWS issues a new tornado warning for the area, the warning system will be activated again in response to the new warning.
Activated sirens sound a steady tone for 3 minutes. There is no “up and down” siren cycle – the siren blast will remain constant.

The sirens are tested once a month on the first Friday of the month, at noon to ensure proper operation. The sound is a steady tone for 1 minute. There is no “up and down” siren cycle for the warning sirens; the siren blast will remain constant. If a severe weather watch or warning is in affect for Lucas County prior to 12:00 p.m. on a scheduled test day, the sirens may not be tested on that day.

If testing is required at any time outside of the normal monthly testing schedule, Lucas County EMA will send out a Lucas County Alerts message, as well as notify the media; to better ensure awareness by the public of the additional testing.

The intent of the sirens is to provide ample warning for persons to protect themselves and seek additional information regarding the issue at hand. Because of this, sirens may sound before hazardous conditions exist. Due to the nature of severe weather, hazardous conditions may also develop before an activation of the sirens is possible. Lucas County has a county-wide siren system. Therefore, although a tornado warning could be issued by the NWS for only part of the county, all Lucas County sirens would be activated. Thus, it is important to tune into other avenues of information (i.e. NOAA weather radio, local media, etc).

Lucas County EMA recommends all households be as proactive as possible to stay informed of situations affecting their area. This includes using a NOAA All-Hazards radio, signing up for Lucas County Alerts at, and tuning into local media when the sirens are sounded.


If you realize that a siren is not functioning properly, please contact Lucas County Emergency Management Agency staff at 419-213-6503. They will need to know the siren location and description of the problem in order to direct the maintenance/repair to the malfunctioning siren.

Lucas County Alerts 

Sign up for emergency notifications at

In the event of an emergency or tornado warning, an alert will be sent to the phone number(s) you provide and/or your email address.

See the FAQ's here.

Radio Stations

Siren activations will be followed by an Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcast message or special news bulletin over commercial radio and television channels that will provide specific information and/or instructions.

Weather Radio

The most reliable means of getting timely warnings for severe weather and other events is by listening to a NWS Weather Alert Radio. While the current county siren system serves approximately three quarters of Lucas County, gaps in coverage are unavoidable. Also, if you are indoors or are in a high noise area you may not be able to hear the sirens sounding.

What should I do when the siren sounds?

The sirens are activated for one minute on the first Friday of each month to verify the operation. Sirens will sound with a steady tone for a full three minutes for a TORNADO WARNING or ACT OF TERRORISM. When hearing this signal citizens should immediately go indoors or otherwise seek shelter from severe weather that may already exist in their area. The public should tune in to a local commercial broadcaster or NWS radio for specific information on the nature of the alert activation. Individuals are encouraged to alert our Agency to any siren that fails to operate at any time by submitting a Siren Failure Report form.

Siren activations will be followed by an Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcast message or special news bulletin over commercial radio and television channels that will provide specific information and/or instructions.

What if I can't hear the sirens in my house?

The outdoor warning system is designed only to inform those who are outside in open areas. The system is NOT designed to warn residents within the confines of a residential, commercial, educational or other buildings. Please do not venture outside during severe weather in an effort to hear the sirens. Lucas County EMA highly encourages all residents to purchase weather radios, as well as use other means of emergency warning such as cell phone notification or other electronic media. See to sign up for Lucas County emergency warnings.

Are the sirens activated for Acts of Terrorism?

The sirens may be activated if an act of terrorism against the United States has been detected, is threatening a local jurisdiction, and protective action should be taken immediately. As with weather warnings, siren activations for acts of terrorism will be followed by detailed EAS messages informing the public as to which protective actions they need to take.