Tornado siren shows age, needs work in town

HARDY, AR (KAIT) - On Tuesday night, some residents in Hardy were awakened by a tornado siren even though there was not a tornado warning and the storms passing through were not severe.

These false alarms happen a lot, according to Hardy Mayor Jason Jackson.

The town's tornado siren is about 50 years old and runs through the phone lines instead of through the wireless police and fire radios like newer ones do.

"If there is just a tiny surge through the phone signals then it sends the siren thinking we're hitting the button on it," Jackson said.

Those surges usually happen when lightning hits a telephone pole.

And it's something that Jackson said has been happening for years but they have been working the past few months to get it fixed.

Retrofitting such an old siren to a new radio system is taking some time, but an engineer is scheduled to look at the system this week.

Right now, city officials use the official Facebook page to let people know when it is a false alarm.

Jackson said it only happens during storms, though, so people should not automatically think it's a false alarm just because it happens often.

"In the event of severe weather and the alarm goes off, just take cover," he said. "It's not going to matter if you're under cover for a little bit. And we will respond back with, 'This is a false alarm. Sorry.'"

Jackson said another advantage of moving to the radio system is being able to trigger the siren from the portable police and fire radios.

Right now, someone has to be inside the fire department to push the button and turn the siren on. 

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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