WILLISTON, N.D. – With the possibility of strong storms tonight, emergency managers in McKenzie and Williams Counties want the public to know what to do if such an event occurs.
McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karolyn Jappe says many officials and storm chasers will be out throughout the night to provide updates if an emergency arises.
Alongside sirens, the county also has the capability to send out notifications to smartphones through the emergency alert system.
She says that has been a saving grace to get messages out to people who can’t hear the sirens.
“If something were to happen or somebody sees something coming, then they notify me, and I send out an emergency alert in a heartbeat. So that’s why I send out those emergency alerts because a lot of people aren’t even going to pay attention [to the sirens] because they’re going to be inside,” said Jappe.
Jappe says those without sturdy structures should be aware of where they need to go to find shelter. Those locations are available on the McKenzie County Emergency Management Facebook Page.
Emergency Manager Mike Smith says Williams County uses both sirens and notifications through a program called Williams County ALERT, which people need to sign up for at williamsnd.com.
Smith says that sirens will sound in the event of a tornado or dangerous weather conditions
Smith warns that the sirens turning off is NOT an all-clear signal.
“The sirens will sound off for three minutes, and then if the threat persists, they will sound again, but there is no all-clear sound,” said Smith.
There is no designated public shelter for Williston or Williams County, so Smith says the best thing to do is to seek shelter in the smallest room in your structure and most importantly, don’t panic.
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