Emergency Management News
Sheltering in a Tornado Event
The City does not have public storm shelters because while they may seem like a good idea, they often come with more risks than benefits to residents including:
• Opening public buildings as storm shelters gives a false sense of security and offers no more protection than a well-built residential structure.
• Traveling to a public storm shelter could put you at greater risk than if you sheltered in place. Traffic is likely to get congested if everyone is heading toward one location. Your vehicle is one of the most dangerous places to be during a tornado.
• Tornadoes can happen at night. If a storm wakes you at 2 a.m. you likely won’t have enough time to gather your family, load them into a car and drive to a storm shelter. Sheltering in place affords you the quickest and best protection for a short notice event.
• The City has not built public storm shelters because it would be impossible to shelter even a small percentage of the population. If we were to do this, we are required to build enough shelters to hold more than over 200,000 residents.
We encourage all of our citizens to maintain situational awareness during severe weather events and be prepared to shelter in place if necessary. Here are basic tornado safety tips that will help you find the most ideal location to shelter during a storm.
Basic Tornado Safety
• The lowest possible level of a building or structure (Ex: First floor, basement, storm cellar)
• Interior room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom
• Get underneath sturdy piece of furniture and cover neck and head
• Avoid places / rooms with wide-span roofs (cafeterias, gymnasiums, shopping malls)
• Mobile Homes are not safe shelters; you should make plans before the storm arrives to get to a pre-planned shelter
• Apartment dwellers should have a plan in place to get to an apartment on the lowest level of the complex. Contact your Leasing Office.
• Do not attempt to outrun a tornado in your automobile, seek shelter inside a nearby building. Be sure not to choose a large box store with a wide-span roof.
• If stranded outside lie down in a ditch or low lying area away from the vehicle, but remain aware of possible flash flooding
• Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass
For more information about tornados, please visit Tornadoes and High Winds.
Outdoor Warning Sirens
The City of Garland has begun installation of the new outdoor warning sirens approved by the Garland City Council in the 2012 Capital Improvement Program. The existing siren system was taken offline in 2011 due to lack of reliability with the aged equipment and is being replaced with a new system that will consist of 15 sirens strategically located to warn those in public outdoor gathering spots throughout the city. The new sirens will feature the latest technology including flashing LED lights that will alert persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing that they need to seek shelter and additional information.
In December, the Siren Site Selection Team worked with City departments and GIS to determine the exact placement of the sirens. The team then staked out each site with signage informing citizens of the impending siren and providing them with contact information for additional questions or concerns. The final site map was taken to the Park Board for approval in January prior to installation.
Construction is set to begin in late April and will take several weeks. To reduce costs and traffic disruptions to citizens, city officials have arranged for the old sirens to be removed at the same time that the new sirens are being installed. It is expected the system will be fully functioning by late June 2013.
During this system upgrade, the Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor severe weather conditions and provide warnings via CodeRED, Weather Warn and Twitter. Remember that the outdoor warning sirens are not intended to be heard indoors and emergency officials urge all citizens to remain alert to changing weather conditions and to have multiple means of receiving emergency warnings.
Siren Activation Details
Sirens are designed to serve as a warning for people outside of their business or residence. The City of Garland uses outdoor warning sirens as an all-hazards warning method. This means that they are not "tornado sirens". They can be activated to warn citizens about any possible danger outdoors that they should seek shelter from.
If you hear the sirens, seek sturdy shelter immediately. Make your way to an interior room, away from windows and exterior walls, and turn on a radio or television to a local station for more information about what the specific hazard is.
Sirens will be activated for:
• A tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service
• Tornado or funnel cloud reported by a reliable source
• Sustained winds in excess of 60 mph
• Reports of hail larger than one inch
• Chemical spill emergency
• State or national emergency declared by the governor or president
• Other emergencies as appropriate
Proposed Outdoor Warning Siren Locations
Siren Location Details
Please note that this is a preliminary list of the outdoor warning siren locations and changes can and will occur during the installation process. As we move forward with installation, we will continue to provide updates to this information and confirm any changes.
Siren #1: Firewheel Golf area
Siren #2: Winter Park
Siren #3: Holford Park
Siren #4: Beaver Elementary
Siren #5: Central Park
Siren #6: Cullum Park
Siren #7: Castle Substation
Siren #8: Firewheel Town Center
Siren #9: H.B. Johnson Stadium
Siren #10: Kingsley Park
Siren #11: Centerville and Meadowbrook
Siren #12: Audubon Park
Siren #13: Toler Elementary
Siren #14: Waterhouse and Roan
Siren #15: Bass Pro complex
Siren Project Progress
Pictures from the delivery, assembly and installation of the new outdoor warning sirens!