SILENT SIRENS: Test Shows Holes In System

The American Signals T-128, Des Moines siren of choice.

Elsewhere, it’s the Federal Thunderbolt

127 decibels of ear-grindin’, torquin’ tone!

But Wednesday morning, when Polk County Emergency Management Agency tested these sirens in Pleasant Hill, the sirens were silent. And that’s not supposed to happen

“We’ve got six that we know that did not function,” said Agency director, AJ Mumm, “and that’s part of why we do the exercise, today.”

This Severe Weather Awareness Week test made Mumm and the Agency aware, alright.

“Every year we always have some that fail…I think we find that winter is really hard on the sirens, mechanically,” he said.

Each siren covers three-quarters to one square mile and draws power from solar batteries mounted on the pole.  But they aren’t perfect.

“If you’re indoors, an outdoor warning siren may not be heard anyway even if it is working.”

Some $60,000 was spent maintaining the metro’s 134 sirens, last year.  It’s an extensive system but not intended to stand alone.

“The outdoor warning siren network is just one in a layer of different warning devices that we recommend that everyone have.”

The media, National Weather Service and even smart phone apps that pitch in.  But the sirens get all the attention.

And these will be fixed by the end of the week.  You hear that?

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