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Boone County officials: tornado sirens all sounding is protocol

High winds and damaging storms caused tornado sirens all around Mid-Missouri to sound Wednesday afternoon.

They went off in all of Boone County, even in parts that were not under a tornado warning, like Columbia.

Viewers called into ABC 17 to ask what was going on, so our crews decided to look into tornado siren protocol.

We found out that Boone County was supposed to be split into a geographically-tiered siren system by now. That would mean the 691 square mile county would be split into north, central, and south sections.

But Captain Martina Pounds with the Boone County Fire Protection District said concerns have delayed the process.

“There have been questions and concerns we need to address from our stakeholders and those involved…but this delay is normal with a big switch,” Pounds said.

Until that switch happens, it is standard protocol that sirens will sound all over the county no matter where the warning happens within the county.

But even if you’re not near the area under warning, Capt. Pounds said you should still take the sirens seriously and head to the basement.

“Tornadoes are so unpredictable. They can form so quickly and change paths. I hope people would see these sirens as a drill and test out their emergency plans,” she said.

Pounds said the geographically tiered system should be in place by the end of the year. Chief Scott Olsen said it could be as soon as next month.

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