Outdoor Warning Sirens

Last Updated: Saturday, 18 April 2015 Published: Tuesday, 22 April 2014

There are several outdoor warning sirens within Dickinson County to alert the public of approaching tornadoes or potentially tornadic or thunderstorms containing high winds. There are several things you should be aware of concerning these sirens:

  1. Like their name implies, the sirens are meant to be an OUTDOOR warning system. They are not meant or designed to be heard inside homes and other buildings. To be alerted when indoors, you should purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.
  2. The sirens are activated when a tornado warning has been issued for Dickinson County and/or when a tornado has been spotted by a trained spotter. Sirens may also be activated for thunderstorm warnings when winds are forecast to be at or above 75 miles per hour. We try hard to activate the sirens ONLY in the areas of the county expected to be impacted by the storm.
  3. When activated, the sirens will sound for approximately three minutes, then automatically shut off. Just because the sirens stop sounding does not mean that the severe weather threat has passed.
  4. There is NOT an all-clear siren. If the sirens sound again that simply means that the dangerous conditions are continuing and you should remain in, or return to, your shelter.
  5. All sirens in Dickinson County are controlled by the Dickinson County Communications Center.

If You Hear a Siren

When sirens sound, get inside, then get information!

Sirens are activated because something dangerous is happening or could happen very soon.


When you hear an outdoor warning siren, get inside immediately.


Find out why the sirens are sounding. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or check local media outlets for more information. DO NOT call 911 to find out why the sirens are sounding. In the case of severe weather or a tornado, stay in your shelter until the danger passes. NOAA Weather Radio or local media will let you know when the storm has passed. There will NOT be an all-clear siren. If the sirens sound again, that means the dangerous conditions are still occurring.

The sirens in Dickinson County are tested each Wednesday at noon unless there are thunderstorms within 50 miles of Dickinson County or a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Dickinson County. Tests are also suspended during the winter months to prevent damage to the equipment from ice and cold temperatures.

Siren Expansion

In the summer of 2007, the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of four new outdoor warning sirens from Federal Signal. These sirens were installed in 2008 near Camp Foster, Methodist Camp, Elinor Bedell State Park and near Okoboji View golf course. In the summer of 2009, two more sirens were installed around Big Spirit Lake, one near Anglers Bay and the other in the Shore Acres area. In 2010, another siren was added in the Moore Lake area and in 2011, in a partnership between the county and the City of Orleans resulted two sirens: one on the west side of Big Spirit Lake, covering Marble Beach Campground and the other covering the east side of Big Spirit Lake. The newest siren, put into service in July of 2012, covers the community of Montgomery.

In 2013 the cities of Superior and West Okoboji obtained and installed sirens through a hazard mitigation grant. With the installation of these two sirens, every city in Dickinson County now has coverage by an outdoor warning siren.

In 2015, sirens were installed in the Horseshoe Bend area and around the northwest side of Big Spirit Lake. The expansion is part of a multi-year plan by Emergency Management and the County Board of Supervisors to install sirens in the developed areas of unincorporated Dickinson County.

Siren Locations