Problem with Tornado Sirens Discovered During Storm

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) -- The failure of tornado sirens to sound in Blytheville last week has caused concern.  Not only did residents lose power, but power to the police department was knocked out as well.  When a warning was issued the employees at the 911 center sent out the signal to the sirens.

"Equipment in the police station was showing they were going off but no one could hear them.  The part of one of them was sounding," said Mayor Barrett Harrison.

When the police officers realized that the tornado sirens weren't alerting people to the tornado warnings they hit the streets driving through different neighborhoods telling residents that a storm was on the way.

Mayor Barrett Harrison tells Region 8 News that they were doing everything they could to let citizens know about the warning.  The sirens are tested every Monday at noon and the day before the storm had gone off perfectly.

"In 17 years this circumstance has never happened and it's just bad that it happened during a storm because it scared a lot of people," said Blytheville Signs and Street Superintendent Barry Bullough.

What they discovered is the part of the building the signal is sent out from isn't on the police generator and because of that the signal wouldn't go out.

"We found a flaw in the system and that'll give us the opportunity to fix that flaw.  The repeater was just on the side of the building not powered by he police generator and it now is.  People don't have to worry about that anymore," said Bullough.

Another discovery is that four of the seven sirens in the city will not work at all without electricity.  The other three newer sirens have battery backup.