Issues remain with city warning sirens

SALEM- A statewide tornado drill at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday revealed problems again with the city’s two working warning sirens.

A posting on the Salem Police Department’s Facebook page confirmed that the city was aware of the problem after some residents posted entries saying the sirens didn’t work.

Police Chief J.T. Panezott said the dispatcher on duty tripped the sirens for the drill and the one at Kelley Park worked, but they received a call that the siren at Waterworth Memorial Park was not working. Officers responded to both parks and the sirens were activated again. This time, the one at Kelley Park rotated but didn’t make a sound, while the one at Waterworth didn’t work at all.

“The two sirens that normally work are working intermittently,” Panezott said.

With spring supposedly coming, along with tornado season, Kenst said residents should listen to their radios or televisions for weather events. Nowadays, alerts of impending severe weather can be sent to cell phones and mobile devices.

He said the city electrician will be checking out the problem. He also said he plans to contact the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency regarding the situation. The EMA had applied for federal funding last fall for the purchase of early warning sirens to install throughout the county, but didn’t receive it.

The city actually has three warning sirens, but the siren at Centennial Park has been dead since last summer when it was struck by lightning during a severe storm. One of the other sirens had to be rebuilt to get it working again after the storm.

The sirens are tested every Saturday during the warmer weather months in the spring, summer and fall.

Kenst said they previously checked prices for new sirens and the cost was $20,000 each. He said they can’t do anything until the electrician has had a chance to assess the situation.