Outdoor Warning Sirens
The City of Farmers Branch outdoor warning sirens are designed to alert citizens, who are outside, to an eminent threat against life and property in the community. There are eight sirens strategically placed around Farmers Branch to ensure maximum coverage. When the sirens are sounded, citizens should seek shelter immediately and seek further information via television, radio, or other means.
Do not call 911 to ask why the Outdoor Warning Sirens have been activated. Only call 911 if you have an emergency to report.
When are sirens tested?
Farmers Branch tests the Outdoor Warning Sirens the first Wednesday of every month at 1 pm, weather permitting. Testing will NOT occur if there are storms in the area or if the skies are threatening so as not be confused with a real siren activation.
Why are the sirens activated?
Outdoor Warning Sirens are often incorrectly thought of as "tornado sirens". It is true that the sirens will be activated if a tornado is expected, but the sirens do not only activate for tornadoes. The sirens are an "all-hazard" warning system, which means that they can be activated to warn citizens of a variety of threats in addition to severe weather. This threat could be anything from a hazardous material release to a flash flood to a large public area evacuation. During severe storms without a tornado threat, the sirens can be activated for large hail and even for damaging winds based on guidance from the National Weather Service.
What does a siren sound like?
Whether the sirens are activated during a test or activated in a real situation to warn the public, you will hear a single tone that lasts about three minutes per activation. The sirens rotate 360 degrees while activated, so you may hear the loud tone slightly rise and fall as it rotates near you.
What do I do if I hear the sirens?
If you hear the sirens, immediately go indoors and get more information on the threat and what you should do next. Do not call 911 to ask why the sirens are sounding; only call 911 if you have a true emergency. There is no "all-clear" signal for the sirens; if you hear the sirens activate again, treat is as a real emergency and continue to take sheltering actions.
The purpose of the sirens is to alert citizens who are outdoors that they need to take shelter indoors and seek further information on the situation once inside. That extra information can come from checking the news on the television, radio, or other sources such as Branch Alert or the City's social media accounts. Branch Alert is a great way for the City to reach you with siren activation information, so be sure to sign up.
How do I Shelter-In-Place if the sirens activate during severe weather?
If you hear the sirens on a day that storms have been forecasted or if severe weather is already occurring, immediately seek shelter inside the nearest study structure. Never shelter in a car or mobile home, if avoidable. When inside of a sturdy structure, you need to shelter in place. Here are some guidelines to best shelter in place. Go to the first floor (or basement if one is available). Find the centermost room; this is one without a wall that touches the outdoors and one without windows (typically bathrooms, closets, or a hallway if that's all you have in the center of the structure). Get down and protect your head (use pillows, blankets, or jackets, if available). If you are sheltering in your home, bring your emergency kit with you to your shelter location.
Why can't I hear the siren in my home or business?
Structures are built to insulate against noise and most likely will not allow siren sound to penetrate inside your home or place of work. The sirens are designed to be "Outdoor" Warning Sirens. They are for people who may be outside when a threat poses danger and are away from other sources of information. Do not wait to hear the sirens to take protective actions inside your home or place of work during severe weather. If the forecasters say to take cover, please do so immediately.
If you want to ensure that you are notified of threats when you can't hear the siren, purchase a NOAA weather radio to keep in your home and place of work. See below for more information.
Emergency Alert Station
WBAP Radio, 820 AM, is the designated Emergency Alert System (EAS) station for this area.
NOAA Weather Radios
NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radios serve as a personal alerting device for your home and business. Many different types and brands of weather radios are available. These radios are available through online outlets, discount stores, pharmacies, and electronic stores. A quick internet search will give you retail options and pricing. It is important to use one that includes NOAA weather channels in the description.
Learn more information on the NOAA Weather Radio.