The commemorative siren test Sedgwick County Emergency Management had planned to conduct at noon on Monday has been canceled. The County announced Sunday evening that the test would not be held because of recent weather. Here’s that Sunday evening email:
“Due to recent events and incoming inclement weather, Sedgwick County Emergency Management will NOT test the Outdoor Warning System on Monday, May 2, 2022. Neither the ALERT (steady tone used for tornado warning) nor ATTACK (classic rise and fall tone used for air attack warning in times of war) functions will be tested. Sedgwick County Emergency Management will notify the public when a date in the future has been chosen to test the ATTACK function of the Outdoor Warning System.
In the event of severe weather, Sedgwick County Emergency Management coordinates with the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wichita. When the NWS issues a tornado warning, they draw an area on the map starting with where the storm is currently, and include the area downstream of the storm that may be affected. ONLY sirens that are located in, or can be heard within, the warned area will be activated.
If the outdoor warning system sounds tomorrow, Monday, May 2, 2022, citizens need to take the appropriate action and seek shelter. For shelter and sheltering in place tips, visit https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/emergency-management/warning-systems-and-shelters/#seekshelter”
About the now-canceled commemorative test:
The very first siren test in Wichita was performed 70 years ago on April 22, 1952. That test was performed on a Thunderbolt air raid siren mounted to the top of what is now East High.
The test that was planned for Monday wasn’t going to have the familiar “Monday noon” sound Wichitans are used to hearing. That sound, which locals think of as a tornado siren, is a long, steady tone.
The sound on Monday was going to have the classic rise and fall tone of an air raid siren. This was intended both to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the siren check as well as simply to test this tone – something that does need to be done from time to time, according to city personnel.
Watch the video below to learn more about what was originally planned for the commemorative test.