Emergency alert options for the public in the event outdoor warning sirens don't activate

Building damage and destruction left after of three tornadoes hit Sioux Falls recently.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - If the tornadoes that hit Sioux Falls recently are any indication, outdoor warning sirens don't always work.

So how else can the public get notified of an imminent threat?

As the mayor of Sioux Falls said, not all the sirens in the area activated during the tornado warning.

Leaving dozens of buildings damaged and destroyed, three tornadoes hit Sioux Falls without warning.

"A lot of storms move pretty quickly across Southern South Dakota on Tuesday night and when they got to Sioux Falls, they produced three tornadoes in the city limits itself, and luckily they were fairly short lived and weak storms but they did cause pretty much damage across those areas," said Susan Sanders, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Not only did the city's system have issues activating all their sirens during the warning, sirens are only meant to be heard outside, therefore, people inside should rely on other notifications.

"If you are in your home windows closed, sleeping, you may not hear them, they may not wake you, they're not intended to wake you, so here in Pennington County we have a total of five different types of warning systems, so we have the outdoor warning sirens, and then there's also are public warning messages, which you can sign up for, that's something that can go right to your cell phones," said Alexa White, Rapid City Pennington County Emergency Management.

During emergencies, if you don't hear the outdoor warning sirens or they fail to activate, your phone becomes your lifeline. One way to get notified is through KOTA News' weather app, Make sure your location is always turned on for the latest updates, you can even decide in your settings what type of weather notifications you want to receive.

"We live in a society that has risk and we need to accept that risk and here in the Black Hills the way our hills are and the way the formations are, we get severe weather and it hits in weird ways because of that formation and how the weather patterns can travel around," White said.

Living in the Black Hills comes with both beauty and risk, making personal preparedness a necessary part of life.

As we have seen this year especially, we have had a lot of flooding and other severe weather in South Dakota, so emergency management wants to remind us to always have an emergency kit ready.