Mahaska County Emergency Management says there were about 70 calls from people using the 911 emergency number during the severe weather today to ask why the storm sirens were sounded.

Mahaska County E-911 Director, Jamie Robinson, says calling 9-1-1 for that information is the wrong thing to do. “The first thing you should do is check local news and local weather —then you can see why the sirens are going off,” Robinson says. “Overrunning the 911 center with phone calls is horrible — it ties up staff who are answering all these phones when they have emergency notificaitons to get out to the public.”

Robinson adds that you shouldn’t call 911 to ask for a phone number for your local electric utility, either. For that, use a phone book or look for the number online.

(By Joe Lancello, KBOE, Oskaloosa)