Outdoor Warning Sirens

DEM manages the 28 outdoor warning sirens that are located in parks throughout Fayette County. These sirens serve to warn citizens who are outdoors that there is a hazardous weather watch or warning, a hazardous chemical spill, or a Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program incident. The map below (click the image for a larger version) shows the locations of these sirens.

If you are near a siren and hear it go off, you should seek shelter indoors immediately. Many of Lexington’s parks and golf courses have designated storm shelters. If the siren gives verbal instructions, follow those directions!

Siren Testing

DEM tests our sirens on the first Wednesday of every month, at either 10:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. except when an actual weather incident is likely.

Some siren tests are “quiet tests,” which means the sirens are tested without any wail or announcement.

Siren Use

For a severe thunderstorm warning, tornado watch, or chemical emergency, sirens will be activated between 6:00 a.m. and midnight.

For a tornado warning, sirens will be activated at any time of the day or night.

Siren Range

The wailing sound of an outdoor warning siren is much like that of a police car, fire truck, or other emergency vehicle, only much, much louder. A siren’s alert tone can be heard outdoors about half a mile away from the siren site, depending on weather conditions. The siren’s public address system can be heard for approximately a quarter-mile from the siren site – again, depending on weather conditions.

Outdoor warning sirens are intended to warn people who are outdoors. They are not designed to notify people who are indoors. A siren loud enough for you to hear inside your house or workplace would be dangerously loud for nearby outdoor listeners. For indoor alerting, we strongly recommend you have a NOAA all-hazards weather radio.

Each siren can play different alert tones for different hazards, and can also be used as a public address system. Depending on the situation, you may hear:

Siren Tone Used For…
Westminster chime
(click to play)
• Siren test
• Severe thunderstorm warning• Tornado watch
Steady tone
(click to play)
• Tornado warning
Wail tone
(click to play)
followed by verbal instructions
• Evacuation
• Shelter in place
• All clear

Once you have taken shelter or followed the instructions from the siren, monitor local radio or television or your NOAA weather radio for additional emergency information. DEM also will distribute information about the emergency on the LFUCG’s low-power radio station at 1620 AM.

Learn More

See our page of frequently asked siren questions.

For further questions or to report a siren issue, contact Tim Brandewie, DEM’s Response Manager.

Do you know someone who may need some extra help during an emergency? Are you wheelchair bound or on oxygen? Fill out your information here and our responders will be able to give you priority assistance.

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