Lewiston Without Outdoor Warning Sirens

Posted at: 05/22/2013 7:04 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The tornado in Moore, Oklahoma has shown us how important our warning systems can be. That's why one local community acted fast when they found out their sirens were not working.

As a tornado warned storm rolled though Lewiston Sunday afternoon, the sirens were silent.

"I was waiting for the siren to go off and it never did, by that time it was already here," said Gary Babcock of Lewiston Public Works.

In all three of the cities sirens are down.

"There was water damage inside the control panel and another siren was down," said city administrator Jennifer Hengel.

On Sunday city officials quickly worked to make up for the lack of sirens.

"Police were out, the ambulance was out, fire was out, all helping warn people," said Hengel.

But the city is hoping during the next storm those actions will not be necessary.

"The city council decided to go with a new siren that will be a two way siren, so they county will be able to activate the siren and receive information back," said Hengel.

The new siren will have several benefits, one being that the single siren will do the job of their three old sirens.

"It'll have a range of about a mile and a half so it should cover the town, no problem," said Babcock.

The other benefit of the new siren, the next time there are issues with it like when it is not working, it will notify the county. So when they sound the sirens they can be assured they will go off.

But until the new siren arrives the city is asking everyone to sign up for the county's phone warning system. Because recent events have definitely shown how important those warnings can be.

"Ever since that deal in Oklahoma, it just gives me shiver up my spine thinking about it," said Babcock.

The new siren will not be up and running for another few weeks.
For more information on how to sign up for Winona County's phone alert system, we’ve posted the website in our links section.