Hancock Co. warns of failing tornado sirens

Eight of the 26 tornado sirens in Hancock County are no longer working. (WISH photo)

GREENFIELD, Ind (WISH) — Here is a warning to those living in Hancock County; For those relying on outdoor tornado sirens to alert you, you need a backup plan. Several sirens are no longer working, and many more are in need of repair.

According to Misty Moore of the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency, updating and purchasing new sirens would cost around $500,000. Tornado sirens aren’t required for counties to have, but Moore says they’re crucial.

“There’s a range between some that are not working at all and some of them that just need repaired. We have several areas that we just need a siren there. There’s no coverage at all,” said Moore.

Moore says they need to install an additional twenty to cover most of Hancock County. Eight of the counties 26 sirens are not working, which is no surprise to Moore, she say’s they were originally installed 20-30 years ago. It’s a big concern for her.

“The sirens are the final say that there is actually something in our backyard, there is severe weather in our county,” she said.

But WISH-TV Meteorologist Ken Brewer says tornado sirens shouldn’t be your only way of getting information, in fact, it shouldn’t even be your primary source.

“Outdoor warning sirens are designed to warn people that are outdoors. It’s not meant as a warning device for people indoors,” said Brewer.

TV is one of the most common ways of staying updated. But relying on television creates problems when you lose power or a satellite signal.

“We really encourage people to have some other method of getting warnings anyway; whether it be the WISH-TV weather app, a great resource. You can get weather alerts sent to your phone, or NOAA weather radio. Just some other indoor device that automatically alerts you when you have severe weather,” said Brewer.

Although we’ve said it before, it bears repeating. For those with a basement, that’s the safest place during a tornado. If you don’t have a basement, stay away from windows. Closets and interior rooms are ideal.

“You want to make sure you have that plan ready because you’re not necessarily going to have a lot of time to enact that plan later on tonight,” said Brewer.

Hancock County Commissioners are in support of new sirens. Next, it’ll have to go through council for final approval.

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