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How St. Louis County checks its 204 emergency tornado sirens daily without you knowing it

If you know of one that doesn't work, they want to know about it

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Missouri and Illinois have just wrapped up Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

In St. Louis County, Emergency Communications Commission officials believe the more than 200 sirens tested on a regular basis are in good working order.

At Florissant’s Bangert Park, Sunday afternoon, St. Louis County residents enjoyed the weather in the quiet shadow of an emergency siren they were barely aware of.

“I know I can hear it, because I stay right here in the neighborhood. I know I hear a siren, so it’s got to be this one – it’s closest,” St. Louis County resident Charles Warren said.

There are 204 emergency sirens located throughout St. Louis County. Since you don’t often hear them, you may think they’re not tested often, right?

“We check them daily, at least a couple times a day, silently,” Emergency Communications Commission Director Mike Clouse said,.

Clouse describes what people need to listen for during the test on the first Monday of each month.

“It will turn on for one minute and be followed by a voice that tells you this was simply a test,” said Clouse.

Clouse said all 204 of the solar-powered sirens are in good working condition, though they have occasional battery issues. Clouse explained that solar power is not a green-energy recent addition, either.

“One of the reasons for that is if you have electricity running to each of 204 poles in the county, obviously there’s a lot of opportunities for power failure.”

Clouse says as many as 99% of the emergency sirens are working properly. Any problems they have are usually weather-related.

“I think we had three issues, this week,” said Clouse, “and with the cold snap we just had, I’m pretty sure we’ve got some battery issues. We have technicians who work every day on this stuff, so they get to it right away.”

If an emergency siren in your St. Louis County neighborhood is not working properly, you can report it by telephone by calling 314-615-9551. Or you can send an email to ecc@stlouisco.com.

The siren tests you might have heard in the past are on the first Monday of each month. In an actual weather emergency, the sirens will sound for at least three minutes.