Warning Sirens

The Athens County Outdoor Warning Siren System consists of four outdoor warning sirens in the City of Nelsonville and The Plains. The sirens are meant to inform you of a possible emergency if you are outside. The sirens are activated simultaneously for an emergency.

The Outdoor Warning Sirens are part of an emergency system designed to provide immediate and valuable information to citizens. If you hear the sirens while you are outside, please go inside and seek shelter immediately; turn on your television or radio for further instructions.

Please do not call 9-1-1 or other emergency numbers for information; call only if you are reporting a life-threatening situation.




Severe Weather

When the National Weather Service initiates a Tornado Warning for the Nelsonville area

When the National Weather Service initiates a Severe Thunderstorm Warning (winds 58+ mph, large hail, severe lightening and heavy rains).

When a public safety official or trained storm-spotter sights an active funnel cloud, tornado or severe thunderstorm (winds 58+ mph, large hail, severe lightening and heavy rains) in the Nelsonville Area

When Athens County 9-1-1 receives credible reports of damage or the imminent threat of sustained winds equal to or greater than 58 mph.

When there is an enemy or terrorist attack

This means that an actual enemy or terrorist attack against the United States has been detected and is threatening a local jurisdiction and protective action should be taken immediately. The attack warning shall be repeated as often as deemed necessary by local government authorities to obtain the required response by the population.

When a public safety emergency occurs.

The public safety emergency warning may be used as authorized by the local incident commander to alert the public of emergencies such as hazardous materials incidents and civil disturbances. The alert warning shall be repeated as often as deemed necessary by the local incident commander to obtain the required response by the population.


1. DO NOT CALL 9-1-1 to ask why the sirens are sounding as this can overload the 9-1-1 emergency response system.

2. Remember, outdoor warning sirens are just that, out-door warning. The sirens are meant to be heard outside to signal you to go indoors and tune your radio or television station to the local Emergency Alert System (EAS) Station. As homes continue to become more energy efficient and sound proofing enhanced, outdoor warning sirens that once could be heard decades ago inside of a home can no longer be heard. That’s why other means of warning are in place.

3. Go immediately to a safe area in your home or building, if high winds, severe thunder and lightning are present.

4. If you are outside away from possible shelter, lie flat on the ground away from trees until the storm passes. If in a vehicle, get out and find a more substantial structure.

5. Carry a battery operated radio or NOAA all hazard alert radio to your safe area. You will know when the storm has passed and when it is clear to leave your safe area.

6. ATHENS COUNTY’S SIRENS DO NOT identify specific types of storms, therefore you should immediately seek shelter and tune to local television or radio for further information.

General Safety Tips

Seek shelter and tune in to local radio, television, or your NOAA weather radio for instructions and information.

It is important to remember that any thunderstorm can produce a tornado with little or no warning. When a tornado warning is issued or you hear the outdoor warning sirens, take the following immediate safety precautions.

In Homes or Small Buildings

Go to a pre-designated safe area or to an interior room on the lowest level, such as a closet or bathroom away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), and use your arms to cover your head and neck to protect against flying debris.

In Schools, Hospitals, Factories, or Shopping Centers

Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest level. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head and neck. Centrally located stairwells are good shelter.

In Cars or Mobile Homes

ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.

If no suitable structure is nearby

Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head. Be alert for flash floods!

Listen to a battery-powered NOAA All Hazard Radios or local radio or television station for updated information and to determine when conditions are safe.