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Tornado sirens tested, maintained to make sure they’re ready when severe weather strikes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 11, 2015) - Severe weather season means tornado sirens need to be ready to sound at a moment's notice. The Indianapolis City-County Council is being asked to approve $240,000 to maintain and repair sirens.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Gary Coons said the money would go to the vendor that is responsible for making sure the sirens are working properly. He said money is typically set aside for annual maintenance. The work is performed by a company called Federal Signal.

The county works to test sirens on a weekly and monthly basis. Every week a silent signal is sent to all of the county's 170 tornado sirens. Once a month the sirens are sounded to ensure they're working properly.

"Whether they come back not responding or not they touch each siren and do yearly maintenance on it to make sure that the batteries are ok, it spins properly, it functions properly," said Coons.

Coons explained a common misconception when residents complain they can't hear the sirens inside their homes. The sirens are meant to alert people who are outside and said that's why it's so important to have a weather radio inside your home.

Residents can call DHS at 317-327-3900 to report a siren that is not working properly.