Four of county's 16 sirens didn't sound during tornado test

·3 min read

Jan. 6—Four of Pulaski's 16 tornado sirens did not sound during the tests of the siren system that took place during the last weeks of 2021, and officials are looking into options for those sirens.

Aaron Ross, Pulaski 911/Emergency Management Director said the four sirens that didn't sound off last week were at Firebrook, Bronston, Woodstock and Kingsford.

Those first two, Firebrook and Bronston, are newer sirens, and officials are looking at getting those repaired as soon as possible — hopefully by Wednesday, but it could possibly be the end of the week, Ross said.

It was discovered after the first test that the Firebrook station siren had a tripped breaker, but that was fixed and it still didn't sound during the second test, he said.

He said that likely means there's a part that needs to be replaced in both that and the Bronston sirens. Officials keep certain replacement parts on hand for just such a possibility, he said.

The other two sirens, at Kingsford and Woodstock, are a little more problematic. Ross said they are older sirens, and the county is looking more at replacing them rather than repairing them.

That mean having to bid out for the work, which takes time. And, as Ross points out, every government in the state is currently testing and trying to replace sirens, meaning Pulaski could be competing for those services.

He said replacing those sirens could costs $20,000 or more.

Ross also said that because sirens need to be placed as high off the ground as possible, sirens are prone to lightning strikes. Therefore, they may have to look at whether those two areas are still the best places for the sirens or if they need to be moved.

The director reminded the public not to rely only on the tornado sirens for early warning. They are designed to be heard by people outside buildings, giving them notice to seek shelter indoors.

"They're not for waking you up at night," he said.

He also pointed out that the maximum radius in which a siren can be heard is around two and a half miles, but they are most effective in a one and a half mile radius.

"Don't anticipate hearing those sirens, even if you're outside, if you're three miles away," Ross said.

That's why he suggested having several options available. "Don't rely on only one source of information," he said.

The county's CodeRED system is one option, in which National Weather Service notifications are sent to cell phones via the Office of Emergency Management.

People can sign up by following the instructions at https://pcoem.pulaskigov.com/codered/.

Also, Ross said that most of the local television stations have weather apps for devices that send out push notifications. People can sign up for those, and they should make sure they have their phones set to receive those notifications.

But ideally, everyone should have a weather radio on hand, Ross said.

"We still have a weather radio in dispatch," despite having all the other options at their disposal, Ross said.

He said that those with radios should make sure they have fresh batteries, that it is turned on and that the volume is up enough to be heard.

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