Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ann Arbor to test outdoor warning sirens

The arrival of spring also brings with it the return of monthly siren testing.

In order to prepare the University community and area citizens for severe weather and other types of emergencies, emergency management staff from the city of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County will begin the monthly tests of their outdoor warning sirens.

The city test is scheduled for 1 p.m. today. If there is a threat of severe weather on the day of the test, it will be canceled.

Monthly testing of Washtenaw County’s sirens is scheduled for noon on the first Saturday of each month from March through September. Testing of the city’s sirens is scheduled for 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month from March through November.

When activated, these sirens — 22 throughout the city and 39 throughout the county — are intended to serve as an alert to people who are outside that they immediately should take cover. The sirens may be activated for various reasons, including tornado warnings, other severe weather, hazardous materials spills or a major national security incident. In the event that the sirens are activated for an emergency, they will sound for three minutes with steady wailing, take cover immediately.

In the case of an emergency residents are encouraged to tune battery-operated radios to WAAM 1600 AM, WEMU 89.1 FM or WQKL 107.1 FM for more information. If residents still have access to the television and they subscribe to the local cable company, tune to channel 16 for updates on the current emergency situation. There is no "all clear" alert from the sirens. An "all clear" notification will be broadcast on the radio.

During siren activation, residents should not call emergency phones unless they need the police, fire or paramedics. Police and 911 telephone lines should be kept clear for people who really need police, fire or medical help fast.

For more information, visit the Washtenaw County’s Web site at or the city’s Web site at