Siren Location Maps

There are 134 outdoor warning sirens in Dane County system. The sirens are located in the most densely populated areas of the County. As the outdoor component of the warning system, the sirens have a very important role. The sirens are an effective means of alerting people who are outside.

Click on the map to see a larger version of the image.

Dane County Siren System Map

 Siren Map (PDF)  Dane County Siren List (PDF)

Siren Effective Range

The circles on the map indicated the estimated OUTDOOR effective range of the sirens. The ranges are shown for planning and comparison purposes only. These ranges do not necessarily represent the actual audibility of any given siren.

There are a number of factors that affect the range of the siren. First of these is sound output. Very simply, some sirens are designed to be louder than others. A louder siren will have a greater range.

Atmospheric conditions also affect siren range. Wind speed and direction, air stability, and relative humidity all affect the distance that the sound will travel. Your ability to hear the siren will change as these conditions change. It is very possible that from your location, in some cases you will be able to hear the siren, while in other cases, you won’t.

Topography and background noise levels will also affect your ability to hear the sirens. Hills, trees, and buildings can be barriers that block the sound. High background noise levels from highways or industrial areas can mask the sound of the siren. These conditions will effectively limit the warning range of the siren.

Even with these limitations, sirens can be a very affective source of warning, if you are outdoors and within range of the siren.

Storm Based Warnings

National Weather Service Storm-Based Warnings

The National Weather Service implemented Storm-Based Warnings in October of 2007. Prior to 2007, the National Weather Service issued and disseminated tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flood hazard warnings using geo-political (typically county) boundaries. Storm-based warnings are based on the threat area of the storm itself, which usually does not recognize county boundaries.

Storm-based warnings are a substantial improvement over the old, county-wide warning method. Storm-based warnings provide more specific information about the location of the severe storm and the direction it is tracking. It also reduces the likelihood of unnecessarily alarming those outside the threat area. Especially in geographically large counties like Dane County, by issuing warnings based on the specifics of the storm, the National Weather Service can substantially reduce the area being warned. Here is a link to a fact sheet with more information on storm-based warnings:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/pa/files/storm%20based%20warning.pdf

Storm-Based Siren Activation

Dane County upgraded the siren control system in a two year project, beginning in 2011, in order to allow for storm-based activation of the County’s siren system. Storm-based activation was fully implemented in 2013. Following a quiet severe weather season in 2013, the storm-based activation of the sirens was first employed in June of 2014.

With storm-based siren activation, the only sirens sounded are those with warning coverage in the Tornado Warning area determined by the National Weather Service. This reduces the likelihood of needlessly alerting people that are not at risk, and also provides certainty that you are in the warning area when you hear the sirens.

A picture is worth 1,000 words:

Below is a radar map view of the storm-based Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service on June 18, 2014 at 7:57 AM.

National Weather Service Tornado warning radar map

Below is a map showing the sirens selected for activation in the same storm-based Tornado Warning:

  • The Siren Coverage Range indicates the effective outdoor range of the sirens under ideal conditions.
Dane County sirens activated map

Siren System – Frequently Asked Questions

Shouldn’t I be able to hear the sirens in my home or business?

NO! The sirens are the OUTDOOR component of the warning system. The sirens are not intended to alert people who are indoors. The sound from the sirens simply does not penetrate into buildings such that the sirens would be a reliable means of indoor warning. This is especially true in buildings with closed windows and interior background sounds such as television, air conditioning, appliances, etc. If you are inside, with the windows closed, the TV on, or the air conditioner running, you will probably not hear a siren if it sounds, even if you are within the effective outdoor range. If you are sleeping, an outdoor siren will probably not wake you up. You are setting yourself up for a potentially dangerous situation if you are relying solely on an outdoor siren as your only source of warning.

This is not a new phenomenon. To illustrate, in a 1956 report submitted to Congress, the Federal Civil Defense Administration, stated, “Although satisfactory outdoor warning devices may be installed, there is still the problem of how to warn people in homes and other buildings from which the outdoor devices may not be heard.”

Thankfully, indoor warning is no longer the technical problem that it once was. There have been great advances in indoor and mobile warning since 1956. Dane County Emergency Management recommends that people take advantage of these advances and have alternate, redundant means of receiving warning information.

What is the purpose of the siren system?

The sirens are to notify people who are outdoors that they need to seek shelter immediately and turn on their TV or radio for information.

When are the sirens sounded?

The sirens are sounded when the National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning for Dane County.

Who decides to sound the sirens?

While the National Weather Service is responsible for issuing severe weather warnings, they do not decide when and how the sirens will be activated. The siren system is operated by the County and County policies determine when and how the sirens will be activated. The primary activation point of the siren system is in the Dane County 911 Center, with backup capabilities in the County Emergency Management office.

Are the sirens sounded county-wide for a Tornado Warning?

The sirens in Dane County are tested between noon and 12:05 on the first Wednesday of every month from March through November. The sirens are not tested in the winter months.

Can the siren loudness be turned down for the monthly tests?

Unfortunately, no, the sirens cannot be turned down. The sirens are either on or off. They cannot be turned down or be made less intrusive for tests.

Does Dane County use different siren signals for different types of warnings?

No, in all cases, the siren activation is a three-minute steady tone. This includes monthly tests and actual warning activations. Some communities in Dane County use the siren for local purposes such as a noon whistle or fire calls. Those signals are different. In all cases, however, the warning signal is a three-minute steady tone.

Does Dane County sound the sirens for an “All-Clear” after the threat has passed?

No. The sirens in Dane County are never sounded for an “All-Clear.”

If the television or radio recommends taking shelter, but the sirens are not sounding, what steps should I take?

Don't wait for the sirens to sound if you see severe weather and are warned by TV or radio to take cover, do so immediately. The sirens are well maintained, but they are mechanical devices and cannot be guaranteed to function 100% of the time.

Please contact Dane County Emergency Management if you have a question about the siren system that is not answered here.

Siren System Upgrades

Dane County is in the process of replacing and upgrading a number of outdoor sirens across the County. This is part of a significant capital project to replacing aging and obsolete sirens. The new sirens are more reliable, are equipped with battery back-up, and produce a sound that will carry farther than the sirens they are replacing. This is a major improvement to the system that will greatly increase the overall reliability of the system.

2016 Upgrades

This is a list of sirens scheduled for upgrade in 2016. This work began in March and should be completed by the end of May, 2016. The maps provided are for discussion only and do not represent the exact locations or coverage areas of the sirens. Please contact Dane County Emergency Management with questions about this project.

Project Overview Map

Project overview map notes:

  • Siren locations with an ID number of zero indicate locations or proposed new siren sites
  • Siren locations/coverage areas illustrated in blue indicate existing siren sites that are not affected by this project.
  • Siren locations/coverage areas illustrated in magenta indicate the locations/coverage of proposed new, upgraded sirens.
  • Siren locations/coverage areas illustrated in white indicate the former locations/coverage of areas of sirens that will be removed or upgraded in this project.

Community

Location

Proposed

Site Maps

Madison Old Middleton/Rough Lee Remove old siren from service  
Madison E Washington Ave 2222/East High Remove old siren from service  
Madison Crestview Dr/Dixie Ln Remove old siren from service  
Madison Marsha/Tempkin Remove old siren from service  
Madison Midvale Blvd/Odana Rd Remove old siren from service  
Madison Northland Dr/School Rd Remove old siren from service  
Madison Northport Dr/Troy Dr/Fire Station Remove old siren from service  
Madison Ruskin St/Spohn Ave Remove old siren from service  
Maple Bluff Old Shore/Bayside Remove old siren from service  
Blooming Grove Thurber Ave 3325/Town Hall Upgrade siren at existing location  
Cambridge Bilstad/South Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Northport Dr Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Harrison Street/S of Monroe St Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison N Gammon Rd/S of Farmington Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Putnam Rd/Maple View Dr Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Emil St Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Post Rd/near Todd Dr Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Beld St 1926/by Pump Station Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Hammersley Rd/Frisch Rd Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison S Segoe Rd/Berwyn Dr Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison East Buckeye Road Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison East Dean Avenue Upgrade siren at existing location  
Madison Lake Edge Blvd/Maher Ave in park Upgrade siren at existing location  
Middleton Century Ave/Baskerville Ave Upgrade siren at existing location  
Middleton Hubbard 7426/City Hall Upgrade siren at existing location  
Mt. Horeb Jaycee Park, Linda Road Upgrade siren at existing location  
Shorewood Hills Middle of Circle Close Upgrade siren at existing location  
Fitchburg Chalet Gardens Install new siren on Chalet Gardens and Verona Road Chalet Gardens Site Map
Madison Edna Taylor Parkway Install new siren on Edna Taylor Parkway Edna Taylor Parkway Site Map
Madison Northport Drive Install new siren at 1202 Northport Drive Northport Drive Site Map
Madison Packers Avenue Install new siren on Packers Avenue Packers Avenue Site Map
Madison Pennsylvania Avenue Install new siren on Pennsylvania Avenue Pennsylvania Avenue Site Map
Madison University Avenue Install a new siren on Norman Way and University Avenue Norman Way Site Map
Madison North High Point Road Install a new siren on North High Point Road North High Point Site Map
Madison Seybold Road Install new siren on Seybold Road at Gammon Road Seybold Road Site Map

2014 Upgrades

Community

Location

2014 Project

New Coverage Map

Belleville

E Main Street

Remove old siren from service

 

Belleville

Belleville Community Park

Install new siren in Belleville Community Park

Belleville Coverage Map

Black Earth

Blue Mounds Street

Remove old siren from service

 

Black Earth

Center Street/Hillcrest Drive

Remove old siren from service

 

Black Earth

Black Earth Community Park

Install new siren in Black Earth Community Park

Black Earth Coverage Map

Brooklyn

W Main Street

Replace siren at existing location

 

Dunn

Bayview Heights

Remove old siren from service

 

Dunn

Bayview Heights

Install new siren near the mailboxes

 

Fitchburg

Syene Road/Hilltop Road

Replace siren at existing location

 

Fitchburg

Fish Hatchery Road/Glacier Valley Road

Replace siren at existing location

 

Fitchburg

McKee Road/County PD

Replace siren at existing location

 

Madison

Englehart Drive

Replace siren at existing location

 

Madison

Anniversary Lane

Replace siren at existing location

 

Marshall

River View Drive

Remove old siren from service

 

Marshall

Madison Street/Community Center

Remove old siren from service

 

Marshall

Firemen's Park

Install new siren in Firemen's Park

Marshall Coverage Map

Mazomanie

Bridge Street

Replace siren at existing location

 

McFarland

Terminal Drive

Replace siren at existing location

 

Middleton-Town

Swoboda Road

Replace siren at existing location

 

Montrose/Paoli

Paoli Road/County PB

Remove old siren from service

 

Montrose/Paoli

Range Trail

Install new siren on Range Trail

Paoli Coverage Map

Oregon

Netherwood Street

Replace siren at existing location

 

Oregon

Bergamont Blvd

Install new siren in Bergamont Park

Oregon Coverage Map

Springfield

County Highway P

Replace siren at existing location

 

Springfield

Don's Mobile Manor

Replace siren at existing location

 

Verona

Lincoln Street

Remove old siren from service

 

Verona

Parkland Drive/Vande Grift Park

Remove old siren from service

 

Verona

N Nine Mound Road

Remove and relocate

 

Verona

Gatsby Glen Drive

Relocate siren to Tollefson Park

 

Verona

Cross Country Road

Install New Siren at Verona Well #4

Verona Coverage Map

Waunakee

South Street

Remove old siren from service

 

Waunakee

Century Avenue

Install New Siren at Waunakee Well #2

Waunakee Coverage Map