Outdoor Warning Siren Fact Sheet

As summer is fast approaching, it is now time to reeducate ourselves on the use of the Outdoor Warning Sirens and what should be done when the sirens do sound.


The City of Mandan has 7 working outdoor warning sirens.  These are used to alert citizens of impending emergencies, including severe weather.  In order to ensure the mechanical parts of the siren are used regularly and that the sirens are working properly, we test the sirens on the last Friday of every month at 9:30 am.


The Central Dakota Communications Center in Bismarck has the responsibility of sounding the sirens within the city limits of Mandan.  The Outdoor Warning Sirens will be sounded when:


  • A confirmed funnel cloud has been spotted within 12 to 15 miles of Mandan and approaching the city,
  • A confirmed tornado has been spotted within 12 to 15 miles of Mandan and approaching the city, or
  • The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Tornado Warning for western Burleigh and Eastern Morton Counties to include the Cities of Mandan and Bismarck.
  • The NWS warning predicts 80 mph wind gusts and/or golf ball sized (1.75 inch) or larger hail for eastern Morton County to include the City of Mandan.  IMPACT...PEOPLE AND ANIMALS OUTDOORS WILL BE INJURED.


Confirmation of a funnel cloud or tornado may occur through the National Weather Service, trained Law Enforcement Officers, or trained Weather Spotters.  Remember, a Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.  A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado.  The Outdoor Warning Sirens will not be sounded for a Watch.


When the Outdoor Warning Sirens are activated, you should take shelter indoors in a basement, cellar, or the lowest level of the building.  If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or room away from windows such as a bathroom or closet. Vehicles, mobile homes, shopping malls, and auditoriums (any buildings with wide-span roofs) are not considered safe shelter.   It is your responsibility to have a shelter location identified before the emergency arises.  If you are outside, lie in a ditch or low-lying area and use your arms to cover your head and neck to protect yourself from flying debris.  Please tune to your local television or radio station for further information or alerts during the emergency.  Please refrain from calling the 911 center to find out what the emergency is.  Only call if you have an actual emergency.


Remember, lightning, hail, and flooding are all potentials with these storms.  Prepare yourself in advance by discussing safety plans with your coworkers and families and know where to meet or who to contact when the storm passes.  You will only have a short amount of time to make a life or death decision.  Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.


For more information, contact Morton County Emergency Management at (701) 667-3307.