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Issues remain with city warning sirens

March 6, 2014

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

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Mar-09-14 4:08 PM

Well, I disagree with the problem not being unique to Salem.

I would put money on it that nearly half of this city does not not heed that warning siren. Problem is they would never admit it.

I've been inside stores when that siren has gone off and you can't even hear it. Somebody walked into the store and says the sirens went off and these people continue shopping. They view it as nothing more than a bad weather alert.

To many false alarms. One of these days it will happen and people will die.

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Mar-09-14 11:32 AM

Understood, and yes, you'd think people would be somewhat aware. But, as we mentioned the sirens are sort of the last, foolproof (in theory - assuming they function!) line of defense for someone outside, or whose Dish/cable went out in the storm, etc. Even if people are aware that there's a bad storm coming through, they may not understand whether it is tornadic or not, which is where the siren comes in.

You'll never eliminate the clueless people, but it's not like it's a problem unique to Salem. There's a reason that any civilized area that has any real chance of tornadoes has these things.

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Mar-08-14 4:00 PM

"I don't think you can let "can't fix stupid" be the reason you don't replace them."

I didn't say they didn't need replaced. I am saying. Irresponsible people that don't have enough common sense to understand that their safety starts with them first, is a contributing factor as to why this City has to have them or even replace them to begin with.

Maybe that makes it a bit clearer, I am sorry you misunderstood.

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Mar-06-14 7:24 PM

To update, did some more research and the Centennial and Kelley sirens could be from anywhere from the 80's to early 90's. So, they're somewhere between 20-30 years old, most likely.

They are out of production, so parts could come at a premium.

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Mar-06-14 6:40 PM

I don't think you can let "can't fix stupid" be the reason you don't replace them. Sure, there are plenty of idiots that ignore it, but many more do not.

Salem is not without sin either. I know in the past 10 years they have fired it off for severe weather that was not potntially tornadic a couple of times. I'd prefer to see it limited to tornado warnings, because people associate siren with a tornado warning, not just a bad storm... so every time you launch it off without a tornado warning, people view it as "crying wolf".

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Mar-06-14 6:11 PM

ts1227, don't disagree with you. Lots of irresponsible people, we have to have them. The warnings ARE unreliable and that is half the reason why people don't even take the sirens serious when they do go off. Then people complain because they think the city jumped the gun in sounding them. I heard them go off and still see the kids are still out side playing in the neighborhood like it's no big deal. The list is just as long for the pros and the cons.

If it at least saves one person then I guess that is all that matters. Guess it won't be for the lack of not trying.

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Mar-06-14 4:24 PM

If I recall, Salem's sirens are OLD. I think the models at Kelley and Centennial were built in the 80s. It's likely going to be more cost effective to replace than repair.

I hope they don't abandon them. I may be in a minority (and I don't care), but public safety is something that just has to be done. Everyone doesn't have a phone, the warning alerts are unreliable, people that are outside may have no other notice, etc. Plus, people will be able to hear them if they get a newer one as opposed to the rarely working 30 year old (I think) piles of crap. Newer models are quite loud.

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Mar-06-14 3:28 PM

Liability protection! Wards off the idiots that don't have enough responsibility in their own lives and need to rely on Gov for their protection. So they put these warning sirens in place so these same idiots can't come back after a storm hits and cry that the city didn't protect them because they are to stupid to know that their personal safety starts with them and we have put up with the expense. The city has to pull their hair out with them and tie up the cops and figure out how to keep them operable when everybody knows the winters are killers on these sirens.

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Mar-06-14 2:14 PM

Why do they waste time fretting over these sirens, you can hardly hear them when they do work and there are folks that claim they never hear them when they do work?

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