2 Salem sirens still out of action

SALEM – Two of the city’s three warning sirens remain out of commission, with city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst saying Monday it’s going to take longer to fix because parts aren’t available.

He said he’s also checking cost estimates for new sirens and investigating possible funding sources, such as grants, to pay for them.

Kenst announced last Thursday that residents should pay closer attention to weather reports and not rely on hearing the sirens go off after a problem was discovered last week.

The city was asked by the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency to activate the sirens during a tornado warning last Tuesday afternoon. Under normal circumstances, the police dispatcher flips the switch for the sirens and gets a signal back indicating they’ve been activated.

Kenst said even though they got the signals, they learned that the sirens physically located at Waterworth Memorial Park and Centennial Park did not sound, so they had to be activated manually at each site. The one at Kelley Park worked fine and remains in working order.

When they were told to activate the sirens a second time that night, they discovered the problem with the ones at Centennial and Waterworth Memorial not working at all.

He said city electrician Mike Bibbee is guessing they got struck by lightening during the second storm.

Kenst said the sirens are 25 to 28 years old. He wants to check into costs to replace them to see if it would be more cost-effective to get new ones than pay for the repairs or the parts needed to make the repairs.

The sirens are normally tested at noon every Saturday, with police officers on the scene when available to make sure they’re working.

Depending on what he discovers with the cost estimates, he’ll be talking to Mayor John Berlin and they may have to go through city council’s Finance Committee if the decision is to purchase new ones.