Q: I know the city's emergency sirens are tested at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, so why did they go off last Wednesday, April 28, at 11 a.m.? And why did they blast so long?

The city practiced a special test of the emergency sirens this week in recognition of Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week, according to a Grand Forks County dispatcher.

Severe Summer Awareness Week runs from April 26 through April 30, according to the National Weather Service. Each day of the week recognizes a different form of severe weather: on Monday, awareness focused on severe thunderstorms; on Tuesday, tornadoes; on Wednesday, tornado drills; on Thursday, lightning; and on Friday, flash flooding.

The sirens were activated on Wednesday as part of the day's tornado drill awareness activities.

According to the NWS, the sirens are intended as an outdoor warning system, and are meant to warn people outside to move to safety inside as quickly as possible and seek additional information. The sirens are activated by city officials, and during an emergency, the sirens being turned off does not necessarily mean the threat has ended.

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It's important not to only rely on the emergency sirens, according to the NWS. Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week is a great time to review your disaster supply kit, and to review and practice your severe weather plan.

For more information about Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week, including tips about what to do during an emergency, visit https://www.weather.gov/bis/nd_summer_awareness_1.

Glad You Asked is a segment in the Grand Forks Herald. Do you have a locally interesting question you'd like answered? Submit it to letters@gfherald.com and we'll consider it. Be sure to put "Glad You Asked" in the subject line.