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Public Alerts!

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Getting correct information during an emergency is the key to taking safe action. Someone in your household may not be able to receive, understand, or act on emergency information. Think about what special needs your household may have. Take action now to make sure everyone in your family will be safe in an emergency. 

Things to consider…

  • Emergency news or weather broadcasts may not be closed captioned (link to emergency blog)

  • Information that is shown on screen may not be spoken aloud

  • Automated voices and voices over loud speakers may be hard to understand.

  • Information comes quickly and the stress of a disaster may make it hard to understand or remember instructions.

  • Words moving across the bottom of a television screen may move very quickly.

  • The screen color or color of the text might make some information on television hard to read


Weather can change very quickly.  Severe weather may strike when people are sleeping or unaware of the forecast.  This can be deadly if people do not seek a safe shelter.  A NOAA emergency alert radio (sometimes called a weather radio) can turn itself on when an emergency alert is issued and can warn you at anytime day or night.

Emergency alert radios can also be used to warn about other emergencies, such as a chemical spill.  With the Emergency Alert Radio, you will be warned about dangerous situations in time to take shelter or other safe action.

Every home should have an emergency alert radio, just the way all homes should have a smoke detector.  They can be purchased at stores that sell electronics.  Prices start at about $20.00.  Most run on batteries or have battery back-ups.

Tornado Footage

Know before it happens

Siren System

The Spartanburg County Warning Siren System is maintained by the Spartanburg County Office of Fire Marshal and activated by Spartanburg County 911.  Traditionally, people have relied on outdoor warning sirens to alert them to an emergency in the area. While the sirens are still a valuable tool to alert people outdoors, other means need to be explored to reach the people who are inside a home or building.  NOAA Weather Alert Radios, Code Red and other reputable Weather Apps are more reliable forms of notification for indoor warnings.  For this reason, the Spartanburg County Office of Emergency Management encourages everyone to purchase weather radios or explore other alternatives to compliment the siren notification system.

Conditions Under Which Sirens Are Activated

Tornado Warning

If a Tornado Warning is received from the National Weather Service, sirens in the area will sound as follows: 


Warning Siren Sound

Type of activation: 3-minute continuous sounding siren.
Recommended action: Seek shelter immediately & implement tornado plan.

Potential or Actual Emergency

If the public must be notified of a public emergency other than a tornado emergency (i.e. hazardous material, fire, etc) sirens in the area will sound as follows:


Wail Siren Sound

Type of activation: 3-minute fast high-low tone siren
Recommended action: Access other mediums regarding the specific threat; monitor local TV or radio stations for more information and guidance.

Warning Siren Test

Spartanburg County 911 conducts monthly tests of County warning sirens. On the first Saturday of each month, the outdoor warning sirens are briefly activated at 1:00pm. This program is designed to maintain a reliable warning system.  In the event of bad weather, the test may be cancelled to avoid confusion.  If a siren is not operating in your area, please contact Emergency Management at 864-595-5365.

00:00 / 00:22
00:00 / 00:33

Make sure everyone in your household can communicate during times of emergency or disaster.


The way emergency information is sent out in your community may not work for everyone.  If you don't speak English well, or if you use an assistive device to speak or hear, make a plan now.  Make sure you can get and give information in an emergency or disaster.


Communities may give information by television or radio, by automated phone call, text messages, email, or by sounding outdoor warning sirens.  Police or fire may use loudspeakers to give information as the drive through the streets.  Responders or volunteers may go door-to-door to talk to people directly.


If you think you may not be able to understand emergency information, identify someone (or more than one person) that you can contact for help in an emergency or disaster.  Have more than one way to get in touch with them.  Keep their contact information with you.

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