We hear it every week in Williston. It goes off at noon sharp on Wednesdays, but where did that all too familiar sound in the mid-west come from?

The siren, formally known as the "outdoor warning siren," is intended to warn people of a variety of emergencies, most notably tornadoes and severe weather. Some sirens are also used to call the fire department when necessary, particularly in small municipalities.

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That siren on Wednesday is both a practice run and a test. It checks the operation of our sirens and the emergency readiness of Williston.

The drill has a distinctive past. It was initially established during WWII for safety reasons. The sirens we use today actually have their roots in civil defense, particularly the warning systems used in Britain during the Blitz. Following multiple tests conducted throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the sirens were subsequently deployed to alert people of nuclear attacks.

A federal suggestion suggested that some regions only conduct testing on the first Wednesday of each month. The Federal Government gradually abandoned this advice but left cities and counties with the de facto usage.

The tone and sound of the sirens can vary depending on where you are because they are managed by local counties and cities.

Since there is no regulation requiring the drill to take place at a specific time or in a specific manner, these sirens aren't technically normal.

It's crucial to test these drills all year long because they alert for more than simply weather.

In the upper Midwest, tornadoes typically occur in June and July, but climate change is fostering the circumstances for unforeseen storms, such as the tornadoes in Iowa on January 16th or the December tornadoes in 2021.

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