Warning Sirens

Threat Level Chart

The City of Waco is concerned about the safety of our citizens and visitors. Our community is protected by an outdoor early warning siren system with 31 sirens to alert the public in case of tornado or other emergency.

When Will the Outdoor Warning Sirens Sound?

The City of Waco tests the sirens on the first Friday of each month at 10 a.m. If you hear the sirens at any other time, there is a possibility of a weather-related or other emergency that could require you to take precautions. For weather-related emergencies, the City of Waco will activate the sirens during a tornado warning if a tornado is imminent.

What Do I Do When I Hear An Early Warning Siren?

If you hear an early warning siren, take the following precautions:

  • Seek shelter immediately.
  • Turn on your television or radio to a local channel and await instructions.
  • In the event of a real emergency, the media will provide these instructions.

What if a tornado is approaching?

The safest place to be during a tornado is underground. If you have access to a basement or storm shelter, go there immediately.

  • Stay away from doors and windows.
  • Move to a small interior room, like a bathroom or closet, or an interior hallway.
  • Cover yourself with blankets to protect from flying debris
  • Remain in a safe place until the threat of tornado has passed.

What if I am in my car when I hear the siren?

Tornadoes can toss cars and trucks around like toys. Never try to outrun a tornado. If you see a tornado, or hear a tornado warning issued on the radio or by siren, get out of your vehicle and seek a safe structure or lie down on your stomach in a low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck. Keep alert for flash floods if you are in a low-lying area.

What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

A tornado watch simply means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. During a watch, be alert for changing weather and tune in to your local radio and television weather reports. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted in your area. If a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. Don't wait until a siren sounds to decide what to do.

For what other emergencies might the early warning sirens be activated?

The City of Waco may activate the sirens in the event of a hazardous material spill that could require evacuation or sheltering in place. As with a weather-related emergency, seek shelter immediately, turn on your radio or television, and await instructions.

If instructed to shelter in place, locate a room with the fewest window or door openings that is easy to seal off. Turn off the air conditioning or heating unit, and seal openings with towels or blankets. Remain in place until the threat has passed or you are asked to evacuate.

Information for Other Nearby Communities:

City of McGregor

The City of McGregor will test the sirens on the first Friday of each month at 10 a.m. For weather-related emergencies, the City of McGregor will activate the sirens during a tornado warning if a tornado is imminent.

City of Crawford

The Crawford Fire Department will activate the fire siren if a tornado warning is issued for their immediate area. If time allows emergency vehicles will run prearranged routes to help notify of the danger.

City of Lacy Lakeview

The Outdoor Emergency Sirens in the City of Lacy Lakeview are tested on the first Friday of every month at 10:00 a.m. These sirens are in place to warn citizens of active weather related events in cooperation with the Waco/McLennan County Emergency Management office. For questions, you may contact Jennifer Watkins at (254) 799-2479.

Waco Fire Department >>