Work is underway to repair the city’s storm warning sirens, which have been inoperable since a routine test failed March 5, according to City Administrator Steve Roth.
The city operates five outdoor storm sirens, which are located at the Eagles, 707 W. Congress; the city maintenance shed; on Industrial Drive; and north of Interstate 44, near Monroe Woods Apartments; and at Osage Hills subdivision on Highway OO.
The sirens are tested the first Sunday of the month at 1 p.m.
Alderman Mike Pigg questioned the condition of a siren purchased three years ago, but was never installed, during the March 7 board of aldermen meeting.
“Ones already standing are not working in this city,” Pigg said. “None have gone off Sunday, Monday or today.”
Roth confirmed that the sirens were tested the first Sunday of the month and had failed to go off. He said programming for the sirens is the issue and Radio-Comm has been working on the problem.
“Outdoor Warning Consultants (OWC) will be here Friday morning and can program the unit and the sirens will be working again,” Roth said.
Outdoor Warning Consulting and Radio-Comm both looked at the equipment at various times last week.
“The result was the siren programming box, which is the heart of the operation, was sent out to the manufacturer for repairs,” Roth said.
“We were notified this afternoon (March 15) that the box would be back tomorrow (March 16) and re-installed on Friday by OWC and Radio-Comm,” he said. “So again, we are hopeful it will be fixed then.”
Roth said a great deal of attention has been given to the sirens.
“It is frustrating, but we have been working on it literally since the initial failed test on March 5,” he said.
Roth also said he’s working to install a siren that has been on the ground waiting to be installed. He asked aldermen to approve a $13,535 agreement with Outdoor Warning Consultants to install the siren while it is still on the ground, attach solar panels and raise the pole holding the siren.
Pigg said that since the equipment has been stored outside and on the ground for so long, it should be tested before it is raised to make sure it works.
Alderman Steve Myers agreed.
“I’m a sign installer and I won’t carry a light bulb up 90 feet unless I’m sure it will work,” he said.
The consultant noted in the agreement that technicians cannot be certain the equipment is working. The agreement includes final testing, however, it noted that there could be damage to the components, which would not be known until everything was installed.
“The components are now stored inside, but there are footprints on the speaker cells. The boxes contain electronic components which could have been compromised by sitting outside. Therefore there could be damage to the components,” the agreement read. “We will not know this until everything is installed.”
Aldermen approved the agreement, but included the clause that the siren must be working when work is finished.