Air Quality:

Outdoor Warning System

The City of Reedsburg has a Outdoor Warning "Emergency Siren System":

The new siren is up and running in 2017.

  1. Tornado siren is a steady tone for 3 minutes. All sirens in city will fire off with a tornado.

Alerts may also be sent to your iPhone.  See the Nixle System.

The Sauk County Emergency Management has upgraded the county’s NIXLE system to take advantage of some additional safety features. To receive severe Weather Alertson your cell phone, text SEVERE to 888777 and immediately begin receiving weather alerts specific to our area.

Outdoor Warning Systems - FAQ

1. What does it mean when I hear the outdoor warning sirens? In short, it means that something life-threatening is happening and you should go indoors and get more information.   The specific guidelines (tornado, hail ,wind, etc.) for sounding sirens varies by jurisdiction, so check with the Emergency Management Director. Fire or Police Departments to find out the specifics if you are interested.

2. What should I do when I hear the outdoor warning sirens?   When the sirens are heard, go inside and tune to local media to get more information. 

3.  Why can’t I hear the outdoor warning sirens in my house?   Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed only to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching. 

4.  How can I get alerts when I’m at work or in my house?   For alerts indoors, every home and business should have a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards. NOAA Weather Radio is like a smoke detector for severe weather, and it can wake you up when a warning is issued for your area so you can take appropriate action.

5.  When are outdoor warning sirens tested?   Sirens are tested according to local community or state policies. 

6.  Why don’t the outdoor warning sirens sound an all-clear signal?   No All Clear signal is given. People should be indoors and monitoring local media for updates on the storm. 

7.  Why are the outdoor warning sirens sometimes sounded for hail and wind?   When thunderstorm winds exceed 70 mph, trees can be uprooted or snapped. Hail that is golf ball sized or larger can break windows. Both of these things pose a direct risk to life if people are caught outdoors.  An increasing number of communities are incorporating these threats into their outdoor warning siren policies. 

8.  How often can I expect the outdoor warning sirens to sound for severe weather?   On average, the Reedsburg area experiences several storms each year that meet the common siren guidelines.  You can find information about past storms and their frequency in your community through the National Climatic Data Center

9.  Will the outdoor warning sirens warn me of every dangerous storm?
The safest approach is to be proactive and use all of the information available to protect yourself and your family from threatening weather. Nothing can replace common sense. If a storm is approaching, the lightning alone is a threat. Sirens are only one part of a warning system that includes preparation, NOAA Weather Radio, and local media.

10.  Who activates the outdoor warning sirens?  Sirens are typically activated by city or county officials, usually a police or fire department or emergency management personnel.  Check with your city or county officials to learn more.

11. Does the National Weather Service recommend guidelines for sounding outdoor warning sirens?   Nationally, no.  However, the local City and County emergency managers develop the recommended siren guidelines that have since been adopted by many local communities. 

12. Why does the Reedsburg area have a common guideline for sounding outdoor warning sirens?   When life-threatening weather is approaching, minutes or even seconds could make a difference. If people are unsure or confused about an alert, they may not respond quickly or appropriately. By adopting common outdoor warning system guidelines, confusion will be eliminated, response time will be reduced, and lives will be saved.


Check out these resources:


Where do I go in case of a tornado?

If a tornado has been sighted, take cover in the safest place possible.

  • A basement is always the first choice.
  • Stay away from windows and chimneys. Hide under the stairs or heavy furniture. Cover your head.
  • Building without a basement: Go to the lowest level in the central portion of the building. The first choice is an interior closet, bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Cover your head. In all cases you should have a flashlight and a battery operated radio with you. Keep your keys with you. They can disappear in a tornado. Shopping Center or Large Building: Look for a pre-designated shelter. If you don't see one, go to the middle hallway on the lowest level. Cover your head. Mobile Home or Car: Leave at once and find shelter in a building. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or culvert with your hands over your head.