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Tornado siren "non-mystery" solved

by Mark Schnyder

KMOV.com

Posted on May 13, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Updated Thursday, May 13 at 5:17 PM

What residents in Bridgeton and St. Ann already knew has been confirmed by the St. Louis County Police.  The tornado siren across the street from the Pattonville Fire District Station One off Fee Fee Road did indeed go off for 90 minutes or so starting around 4 o'clock Tuesday morning.

I found out a couple pieces of good news while working on this story.  I met one of the veteran firefighters today who told me in the 27 years he's been at that station, this is the first time he can remember that siren going off when there WASN"T a tornado, so it has proved reliable.

The other good news is there's a plan to replace most of the county's 210 tornado sirens because they're getting old.  Some have been around since the 1960s.  Bids will go out soon and the expectation is, according to an emergency management official I spoke with, 194 of the sirens including the one off Fee Fee Road in Bridgeton will be taken down within the next year and new ones will go up in the same spots.

It's still unclear what exactly caused the malfunction Tuesday morning... likely something electrical they say. 

I got about a dozen emails from frustrated people in North County who say they were awaken by the siren and wonder just how reliable they are.  By all accounts, they're still reliable when there's a tornado coming.  As one viewer/emailer put it to me, "I'd rather a false alarm from time to time than have the siren not work when we need it to." 

Good point.

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