For many, the sounds of tornado sirens are all too familiar. With tornadoes spawning across the midsection of the United States, the piercing wails of tornado sirens cut through the air.
So when you hear them what should you do? Get indoors? Head to the basement?
Kirksville Fire Chief Randy Behrens says both.
He says they are outdoor warning sirens and are very important to warn people outdoors and not to be heard while inside your home.
The city of Kirksville has seven tornado sirens strategically placed around the parks and open areas around the city.
With the rash of storms that hit tornado-weary Oklahoma for the second time in less than two weeks, Chief Behrens wants to make sure you take the sound seriously.
"It's an indication that the storm is going to hit really quick, really quick," said Chief Behrens.
He says anytime we are under a watch, it has the potential to get worse.
"You should be preparing yourself when you hear the watch," said Chief Behrens. "The warning, it's going to hit, it's going to hit fairly fast. So be prepared to take cover."
A tornado warning means one has been spotted or indicated on radar. Chief Behrens says it's important that you go to the lowest level of your home, like a basement.
"Any interior room that doesn't have windows is the next best place to go," said Chief Behrens. "I always encourage everybody, the first thing in the morning to take a look at the weather to see what the weather will bring today."
Behrens says even if the sun is shining on your side of town, don't let the good weather fool you.
"We test them on the last full Friday of the month as long as there is sunshine. Last Friday it was kind of nasty so we didn't get the test them," said Chief Behrens.
While they may be annoying and sometime even ear-splitting, this irritating sound might be the difference between life and death.
"I'd rather they be a little annoying when we're testing them, and have them working when we need them," said Chief Behrens.