Individuals who may have heard a St. Clair emergency warning siren wailing late Monday afternoon need not have worried. The activation was a test and only a test.
In cooperation with Franklin County Emergency Management, the board of aldermen Monday night unanimously approved testing the sirens at about 11 a.m. on the first Monday of each month.
But before that approval officially was granted, the city tested the sirens in the morning, but only had a 50 percent success rate.
“We tested the system,” City Administrator Rick Childers told board members and others in attendance during Monday’s meeting. “The Highway 30 siren, which literally has been on again and off again, apparently was off again.”
Childers said he had no idea why that siren on the south side of the city did not sound when activated. The other siren on Highway 47 on the north edge of town did work.
“We’ll check on the Highway 30 siren — again,” Childers said.
Childers said for some time it has been recommended by Franklin County Emergency Management that St. Clair test its sirens monthly. Monday’s unanimous vote supports that testing.
In May, the aldermen agreed to spend almost $2,000 to update the Highway 30 siren.
Childers informed board members at that time that Radio Comm Co., the company the city contracts with for its siren system, determined that a new narrowband controller board was needed. Its price is $1,570 with $375 in labor costs to install.
“These sirens are 25 years old,” Childers told the aldermen on May 21. “They (Radio Comm) think this will fix the problem, but there’s no guarantee.”
The problem siren sits on Highway 30 near the intersection with Springfield Road.
The city has been experiencing some difficulties with its siren warning system since January when a problem was discovered while trying to activate them when severe weather moved through the area. Radio Comm has tried to repair the siren boards but has had limited success.
Despite the siren troubles, the city’s CodeRED emergency notification system has remained functional.
It first was used during that mid-January storm as subscribers received telephone calls about the inclement weather within a minute or two after it was issued by the National Weather Service. The system then officially was tested later during that same day.
Its latest activation was on Saturday night when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Franklin County.
Childers reminded people on Monday that a CodeRED alert only was issued to individuals who had signed up to receive severe thunderstorm warning notifications. Since a tornado warning was not issued, people who had signed up only to receive that kind of alert were not notified.
The system also will be used by the city to provide needed information to residents about issues affecting them.
Individuals not signed up for the weather portion of the service can do so by either visiting the city’s or the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce’s website.