Eastern Michigan University

Environmental Health & Safety

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Outdoor Warning Sirens

The Washtenaw County Sheriff Emergency Services Division is responsible for the activation of thirty-nine designated outdoor warning sirens throughout Washtenaw County.  These sirens are triggered when appropriate by Washtenaw County. There are four reasons the sirens may be set off:

  1. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a tornado warning. This is issued when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect. They are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes.
  2. A severe thunderstorm has been detected with damaging winds in excess of 70 MPH.
  3. A hazardous materials accident requires immediate protective action by the public.
  4. An attack on the United States is imminent, underway or has recently occurred.

Warning Sirens are for more than just tornadoes. It is important to find shelter whenever you hear the siren, even under clear skies.

Mark Jefferson Warning SirenEMU has three of these sirens on its campus on top of Mark Jefferson Science Complex, the College of Business Owen Building and next to Westview Apartments.

Though EMU does not operate these sirens we do respond to their warning.  When the sirens are activated EMU Public Safety immediately begins researching the situation and the appropriate response on behalf of the University.  Immediately take shelter when you hear the siren and then seek more information using the other emergency communication channels which will help you make decisions on how to respond.

Washtenaw County tests the sirens at 12:00 noon on the first Saturday of every month from March through September. If severe weather is possible on the afternoon test, it will be delayed until the following month.