County upgrades tornado sirens

County upgrades tornado sirens

JACKSON COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - After two tornadoes touched down in Jackson County last month, the Jackson County Quorum Court have made it their mission to be more prepared and keep the county safe by upgrading their tornado sirens.

According to County Judge Jeff Phillips, they spent a lot of hours working on their tornado siren boxes.

Last fall, Jackson County had a couple of tornado sirens that were struck by lightning, which completely knocked them out.

However, to fix the issue, he said they had to order parts which took several months to get in.

"Unfortunately, this season started early this year," he said. "We weren’t prepared because the parts haven’t come in; but they are now. They are repaired. And we’re going to continue to upgrade to make sure the people are safe.”

The estimated cost to purchase the tornado boxes were $10,000 apiece.

Phillips said they also spent $32,000 on repairs.

"Some of the old boxes you can’t even find the parts, because they don't make them anymore," he said. "And because they’re so expensive, our goal is to replace some of those parts every year; and get them done as quickly as we can.”

Philips said they've also upgraded four new tornado boxes across the county.

Even though they have their sirens back up and running, Phillips said the sirens shouldn't be the only tool residents should use.

"If you live close, within a block or so, you'll probably hear them," he said. "But, if you live any further than that, and the tornado is blowing at 60 to 70 mph winds, you may not hear these tornado sirens going off. It's very important that you watch your weather, download the KAIT app, or something that will give you updates on bad weather."

Phillips said the county tests all of their tornado boxes every Monday at noon, unless it's stormy or rainy, to avoid false alarms.

He said they are also able to do a silent test to check their sirens.

Phillips said the county plans to upgrade three more sirens before the end of this year.

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