Severe Weather Alert Siren Policies by Location

The following is a list of which locations sound sirens and when, with as much official language from each place as I can get. I hope keeping this list here will help folks know what sirens mean in their areas. Check back often, as I’ll keep adding to this list in coming days and weeks. Keep in mind that sirens are intended to warn people who are OUTSIDE. You probably won’t hear them inside your house!

Based on my searching so far (as of May 18, 2016), most county/city EMA’s have some sort of a phone call sign-up system. Search for your local town or county and find it there. Those things will immediately call, text, or somehow alert you when a warning is released where you are located. For locations listed here, links are provided. This is a MUCH BETTER way to receive warnings. There are also apps that will alert you to any warnings based on pre-set locations or your GPS location.

Town of Abingdon, Virginia

Outdoor warning sirens will be activated when:

A Tornado Warning is issued for the Town of Abingdon by the National Weather Service

A tornado or funnel cloud is reported by a trained spotter (law enforcement officer, fire department official or emergency management agency member)

A a severe thunderstorm warning is issued by the National Weather Service and when winds of 70 mph or greater are forecast or occurring the sirens will sound. When thunderstorm winds exceed 70 mph, trees can be uprooted or snapped. Large hail often associated with storms can break windows. Both of these things pose a direct risk to life if people are caught outdoors.

Once activated, the tone will sound for 3-5 minutes. The sirens will re-sound approximately every 30 minutes for the duration of the threat or warning period. There will NOT be an all-clear sound.

When you hear warning sirens: IMMEDIATELY seek shelter INDOORS and turn on local media (television or radio). Follow directions from local officials including information provided by the National Weather Service. DO NOT call 911 UNLESS you have an actual emergency. DO NOT leave an indoor location until the warning expires.

Cell phone and auto-call services, as well as e-mail alerts, are available to Town of Abingdon residents. Sign up at

Kingsport, Tennessee

According to Barry Brickey with the Kingsport Fire Department, citizens of the town are urged to use the alert system and auto-call services on the City of Kingsport website. The link on that site takes you here. This should alert or call your cell phone or home phone in the event of any life threatening situations in Kingsport. This site appears to apply for the entirety of Sullivan County as well.


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