Warning Sirens Explained
The City of Red Wing has over 20 outdoor warning sirens placed in the city. These sirens work in conjunction with sirens in Goodhue County for a total of about 106 warning sirens.
These sirens are all battery-operated, continually recharging from the grid so that a power failure does not disable our ability to warn the public.
The primary reason for the great number is due to the proximity of the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant and federal requirements for public notification.
Payment for Sirens
All sirens were paid for and are maintained by a subcontractor through Xcel Energy. Placement of the sirens was developed through the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and sound propagation software to ensure complete coverage of both the city and county.
Sirens are tested every Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. reporting software is used to determine functionality or detect failure on each siren.
Emergency Management Reporting
The Office of Emergency Management receives a monthly report from the Xcel Energy and individual email reports if a siren does fail.
Sounding the Sirens
On the first Wednesday of the month sirens are fully sounded. On the other Wednesdays a growl test is conducted which will sound like a very short activation. This is to ensure complete functionality at all times.
Siren heads rotate so you may hear a slight rising and falling tone as they rotate toward then away from where you are. This is normal.
Severe Weather Awareness Week
Sirens are also tested during Severe Weather Awareness Week in April. During Thursday of that week, sirens are tested at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. In 2023, the statewide tornado drills will occur on Thursday, April 20.
No Difference in Soundings
There is no difference in soundings for weather-related as opposed to other emergencies.
KCUE 1250 AM & KWNG 105.9
Sounding will generally be for a three minute period which should direct you to tune to the local radio stations, KCUE 1250AM or KWNG 105.9 FM for information.
No All Clear Siren
In weather-related events we do not sound an all clear. If you hear the siren again it indicates an additional weather related event and to take or remain under cover.
To lessen the impact on voice traffic, Dispatch sounds all sirens for weather-related events in Goodhue County, so a tornado warning in Kenyon could be accompanied by clear skies in Red Wing.
CodeRED Mass Notification System and IPAWS
In addition to the Siren System Goodhue County Dispatch will utilize the "CodeRED" mass notification system. You will receive a text and voice mail message with information and instructions related to the weather or man made hazard being experience if you are enrolled in the system.
IPAWS is another notification system that is region specific. Dispatch has the capability to select an area on a map and send out emergency notifications. If you sign up for CodeRED, you will automatically receive IPAWS notifications as well.
To Enroll in Code Red go on to the Goodhue County website or contact Goodhue County Emergency Management by phone at 651-267-2614.
FEMA Notification App
You can also download the FEMA app for severe weather notifications. This is currently one of the best notification systems for severe weather currently available.