Tornado/Severe Weather Information
Severe weather season kicks off in March, and Barton County Communications/9-1-1 wants to remind the public that it is their responsibility to be prepared and know what to do in the event of severe weather or a tornado.
Barton County Communications conducts weekly test of the tornado sirens every Tuesday at noon. If the weather outside is cloudy and overcast, the sirens may not be tested. That decision is made by a law enforcement official in every city in Barton County. If the conditions outside are favorable for severe weather, and you hear the sirens sounding, do not call 9-1-1 to ask why the sirens are sounding. 9-1-1 staff is overwhelmed with unnecessary calls overloading the staff. Just take cover immediately.
Barton County does not have a public storm shelter. It is the responsibility of the citizens to have a plan in place. That plan should include where to take shelter, and what items may be needed when shelter is taken. Shelter should be taken in the lowest level of your home, or a room with the least amount of windows or no windows at all. That shelter should have an emergency kit in it with basic survival tools until the severe weather or tornado passes. A good emergency kit should include a flash light with extra batteries, a blanket, food and drinking water, shoes, identification, cash-small bills only, identification and emergency contact information, and a portable radio with extra batteries or a weather radio.
As a basic reminder, the following are times when conditions warrant a call to 9-1-1 in severe weather: · When you see a tornado · 1 inch hail or larger · Winds over 55 mph · When you see a funnel cloud with rotation · Severe Flooding – bridges under water, impassible roads Please do not call 9-1-1 to ask why the tornado sirens are sounding, to ask where the nearest shelter is, to report that it is raining outside, that winds are starting to pick up, or to ask if we are in an all-clear. Barton County does not issue all-clears. By calling 9-1-1 to ask non-emergency questions, you are tying up a dispatcher that may be needed in a true emergency. If you do not have an emergency, but need a law enforcement officer, please call the administrative number at 620-793-1920.