MOUNT VERNON — Tornado sirens were activated across Knox County on Wednesday evening as a result of a tornado warning being issued in response to numerous storm events across the county. Knox County Emergency Management Agency Director Mark Maxwell wishes to address several questions concerning the activation of the county’s outdoor warning sirens.

Following are details contained in the Knox County 9-1-1 Standard Operating Guideline on activating the outdoor warning sirens. The warning sirens will not be used for watches, but only warnings.

Guidelines for activating outdoor warning sirens

Upon receiving a tornado warning from the National Weather Service or if a confirmed funnel cloud is spotted by a trained spotter (police, fire, sheriff’s deputy, amateur radio or emergency management personnel), the Knox County Sheriff’s Office “E 9-1-1” center will be the primary activation center, and the Mount Vernon Police Department “E 9-1-1” center will be the backup if the Knox County Sheriff’s Office “E 9-1-1” center is inoperable.

Activation is as follows
  • A Activate the countywide tornado system on Knox County Primary Fire Frequency 154.325.

  • B Sequence will be three minutes of sound, 10 minutes of silence with the sequence repeating until the tornado warning has expired or has been canceled by the National Weather Service.

  • C Notify the Emergency Management Director.

  • D The sirens are tested on the first and third Fridays of each month at noon. The City of Mount Vernon’s “E 9-1-1” Center will conduct the test on the first Friday, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office “E 9-1-1” Center will conduct the test on the third Friday.



Joshua Morrison: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @


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