Goodbye tornado sirens? Allen County wants your thoughts

Allen County officials are seeking public input on how Allen County residents get information during severe weather events.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 6:19 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2019 6:54 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Allen County officials are seeking public input about their use of outdoor warning sirens.

The Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute and the Allen County Emergency Management Advisory Council are asking residents of Allen County for their feedback in an online survey on they receive information during severe weather events.

The online survey is available through Sept. 15 at:

Historically, outdoor emergency warning sirens played a central role in outdoor emergency warning during severe weather events, particularly when tornados are present in Allen County.

Today, with numerous other technologies available for personal use, outdoor emergency warning sirens may not play such a central role anymore.


“It seems reasonable to engage our community up-front and let you tell us how important they are to you before we recommend spending of your money on this program,” Director of Homeland Security for Allen County Bernie Beier said.

Originally built to serve as a Civil Defense warning system, it later became a tool to alert volunteer firefighters of a call for fire service in their township.

During the late 1970s it became an outdoor warning tool to alert residents of severe weather events such as a tornado.

Today people have numerous sources of information for severe weather available, often with better and more accurate information than just the sound of an outdoor warning siren can provide.

“This survey will take most people less than five minutes to complete, but the responses will be incredibly important to guide how city and county officials move forward with this system,” CRI Director Rachel Blakeman said. “There is inconsistent siren coverage in Allen County so we are asking for respondents’ ZIP codes to see if there are any trends in how people use sirens depending on location.”

The survey is available through Sept. 15. 

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