Batesville city council addresses tornado sirens no longer sounding

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A lengthy discussion took place at the Batesville City Council Thursday night regarding tornado sirens in the community.

Though there are numerous sirens throughout Batesville and Independence County, they haven't worked for years and didn't go off when a tornado touched down in Batesville Friday.

Instead, a phone alert system, Alert Express, is in place to warn residents but many throughout the community wish to see the tornado sirens up and going again.

Batesville Fire Chief Brent Gleghorn addressed the council and explained the multiple options the city has to upgrade the existing sirens.

Those options might cost anywhere between $15,000 to $25,000.

Regardless, the county currently owns the sirens and the city would have to obtain ownership before they could make any changes or upgrades.

Until then, the city is urging residents to become a part of Alert Express, as only three thousand Independence County residents are signed up for it.

"We've got less than 10% of this county participating in something that could potentially save their life," alderman Dr. Chris Beller said.

City leaders discussed benefits and shortfalls of both Alert Express and the tornado sirens but no decision was made as the city is still looking into options to either upgrade, repair or replace the tornado siren system.

Before Friday, the last tornado to hit Batesville was in 1973. That tornado damaged Lyon college.

You can sign up for Alert Express on the city of Batesville's website or Independence County's website.

The city will also be sending out flyers in upcoming water bills.

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