Warning Sirens and Community Shelters

Outdoor Warning Sirens

Cowley County Emergency Management is responsible for testing and facilitating maintenance of the sirens for the following areas: Cities of Winfield, Atlanta, Burden, Cambridge, Dexter, Rock, and Udall along with Strother Field and the Winfield City Lake. If you have questions about any of these sirens, call (620) 221-0470. For maps of siren locations and coverage, click:  Siren Location/Coverage Map.

The City of Arkansas City is responsible for testing and facilitating the maintenance for the sirens in the City of Arkansas City, Creswell Township (near Parkerfield) and Bolton Township (IXL). If you have any questions about these sirens, call (620) 441-4454. For a map of siren location and coverage, click:  Siren Location/Coverage Map.

Regular weekly testing of outdoor sirens begin on the Tuesday of Severe Weather Awareness Week in March. Sirens will be tested every Tuesday at noon (weather permitting) through the month of June. For the months of July through November, sirens will be tested only on the first Tuesday. If that day does not work due to weather conditions, the test will be moved to the next week. There will be no regular tests during the months of December, January and February (unless done solely for maintenance purposes).

Different jurisdictions have different guidelines when it comes to siren activation. Cowley County is responsible for activating the sirens for the areas listed above. The specific guide for siren activation can be found here: Outdoor Warning Siren Guide.

For a guide for siren activation of those controlled by the City of Arkansas City, contact them directly.

If you have further questions, please check out our Siren FAQ page. If that does not fully answer your questions, please call or email our agency.

Community (Public) Shelters

Severe weather is a threat to our citizens at any time during the year. However, the threat of severe weather including high winds, hail and tornadoes is most prominent during the spring and early summer seasons.

Every year, citizens ask about public storm shelters available to them prior to and during severe weather events.  Cowley County Emergency Management does not operate, own, maintain,  or open any public shelters prior to any severe storm. We encourage citizens to locate alternative sheltering locations by contacting their neighbors, family, friends, co-workers, etc. The time to make that plan is well before the storm so when there is a threat of severe weather, those plans can be carried out.

However, some communities across Cowley County have designated storm shelters that are open to the public before and during severe weather. Cowley County has absolutely no control over these shelters to include when they are open, how long they are open, when they are closed, who can be in the shelter or how people can be sheltered. Cowley County is not responsible for any damages that occur inside a shelter, to a shelter, or any injuries or harm that may occur during this process. These shelters are a courtesy of the owner and it is up to them to establish guidelines or policies as to how they will be operated and they assume all liability and risk.

We are aware that many citizens are looking for these places. However, Cowley County cannot force any business, church or other organization to open their doors to allow for public sheltering. Even if a location is opened, there is no guarantee that we will be made aware of it to pass it along to the public. If a jurisdiction, organization or business does open a public shelter, that is completely their decision and their policies and rules must be followed.

Below are two links containing information about community shelters that has been provided to Cowley County Emergency Management. The first is a list of shelters along with owner/contact name and contact information. The second is a map with the locations of the shelters.  We encourage anyone that may want to use a public shelter to locate the shelter closest to your home, make contact with the hosting agency and learn the specific policies about that shelter.

Community Shelters Listing

Community Shelters Map

Sheltering should be taken care of at the personal level. It is your responsibility to locate a safe place to shelter long before any severe weather strikes. When creating your personal sheltering plan, keep in mind the time it takes to travel to a public shelter and the risk associated with being outdoors during severe weather.

We at Emergency Management encourage everyone to plan early, have a preparedness kit, be informed and practice regularly so that you and your family are safe when severe weather strikes.