Planners reviewing tornado sirens in wake of severe storms - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Planners reviewing tornado sirens in wake of severe storms

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - New details are emerging after an estimated 100 twisters raked across the central plains over the weekend.

In Woodward, Oklahoma, 20 sirens did not sound ahead of a tornado warning.
 
Lightning struck the sirens' power system around midnight, knocking out the city's vital warning process.
 
89 homes were destroyed by the tornado.
 
Officials are unsure if the alerts could have prevented the fatalities, but up to 6 deaths could be attributed to that failure.
 
Craighead County OEM Coordinator David Moore is making sure that doesn't happen here.

If a bolt of lightning were to strike one activation point, the city still has multiple ways to get that signal out.

Craighead County OEM Director David Moore says the city has multiple ways to still get that signal out.

"The primary activation point, of course, is the dispatch center, the 24 hour public service answering point. There is a backup here at the Emergency Operations Center for Craighead County."

A third activation point is located at the main branch of the Jonesboro Fire Department.

The city alert system even has built-in fail-safes, which can run self-diagnostics.

"And it will reach out and do a silent test on them and check their capabilities. Making sure those links are in place and everything's working."

Moore works with the smaller towns in the county to make sure they have one or two sirens as well.

"Most of them can activate them from their police cars. So they don't have to have a fixed point. As long as they have access to a radio, they can set them off."

Moore encourages the purchase of NOAA weather radios, because tornado sirens aren't always reliable.

"Tornado sirens are outside warning devices. Do not depend on them once you walk into your house."

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