Monthly Cedar Park tornado siren testing to begin May 1

Cedar Park is scheduled to begin testing its tornado sirens at noon May 1 and plans to sound the alert system the first Wednesday of each month.

Michael Clanton, Cedar Park emergency management coordinator, told City Council on April 25 that the sirens were strategically installed in the city's three biggest parks—Brushy Creek Sports Park, Milburn Park and Veterans Memorial Park.

The parks' tornado alert system will serve as a secondary precaution, he said. The alert system will be managed by Cedar Park's emergency personnel and will only be triggered during monthly testings and when a confirmed tornado is spotted. The sirens will not be tested during inclement weather so as to avoid confusion.

Such systems are created for outdoor settings, Clanton said, making the city's most-frequented parks the ideal location for the sirens. Park patrons are urged to take shelter immediately if the sirens go off during non-testing times.

The sirens are not necessarily meant to be heard indoors, he said, meaning Cedar Park residents should also sign up for the city's automated alert system at www.cedarparkprepares.com. The website also provides continuous updates when emergencies emerge, he said, as well as preparation methods in case of potential disasters.

The sirens, which were last tested in 2010, were previously sounded the first Saturday of each month when they were installed at three fire stations throughout the city.

Many Central Texas cities do not have a siren-based alert system, including Austin, which, according to the city's website, states such a system would be inefficient and expensive as a primary alert during dangerous conditions. The city instead directs residents to National Weather Service forecasts and local emergency alerts.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.