Lauderdale County, Miss. It’s a sound we are all too familiar with in the south, the tornado siren. Originally used to warn of air raids during World War 2, they were adapted to warn the public of disasters and natural phenomena like tornadoes. It's hard to believe that such an old technology is relevant in this day and age, where worldwide information is available at the touch of your finger tip. But the civil defense sirens still serve a purpose.
Meridian Fire Marshal Jason Collier says, "They are still very important; they are kind of a fall back system. If you're outside, you can't hear your weather radio,. You've let the batteries die, or if your power's out, or if you're outside driving down the street, you can hear these sirens all over the city whenever Meridian or Lauderdale County is under severe weather."
Not only are they still used, they are still being manufactured and installed at new locations like Meridian's newest fire station #9. Sometimes you might not have heard sirens sounding in Meridian during a warning. That was due to an old policy that has now been changed.
Collier says, "We used to in the past look directly for a threat to the city of Meridian to sound the sirens. But instead of a judgment call being used, the sirens are now sounded any time a tornado warning is issued for Lauderdale County."
Sirens were meant as an outdoor warning and should never be your primary means of getting weather warnings. NOAA weather radios are the most reliable way to get warnings and every home should have one.