STATEHOUSE -- Even in January, the importance of severe weather warning sirens could not be overstated. As funnel clouds swirled around the Indianapolis area, Sen. Connie Lawson's bill aimed at improving severe weather sirens coverage areas unanimously passed the Indiana Senate.
Senate Bill 334 will require each county to submit a severe weather warning siren coverage report to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and the department to establish a framework for areas that require a warning system.
SB 334 requires each county to prepare and submit to IDHS a severe weather warning siren coverage report that includes all existing and planned sirens in the county, all areas in the county that are not within the range of a warning siren and recommendations as to what the county needs for additional sirens. The bill then requires IDHS to prepare a comprehensive map of Indiana that shows the locations of each existing and planned siren.
The bill also requires IDHS to issue an order requiring counties who have one or more areas not covered by a siren to submit a siren coverage plan and adopt a siren coverage fee ordinance. The siren coverage fee would be placed on a builder who is proposing a development in an area of the county that is not covered by a siren. The fee will defray the costs incurred to acquire and install any sirens needed to provide coverage.