St. Louis County unveils new $7 million tornado sirens

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 10:41 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Wednesday is the first day of Spring and the unofficial start of the tornado season.

While there aren’t any in the forecast, St. Louis County leaders say they’re ready regardless.

Bridgeton and Kirkwood received brand new high-tech tornado sirens this week.

However, David Barney with St. Louis County says those sirens are not designed to alert everyone

It is an outdoor warning system,” he said. “it is not meant to be heard indoors.

In the past four years, the county has spent $7 million replacing each of the nearly 200 outdoor sirens in the county at price of $38,000 per siren.

Despite not being able to be heard indoors, Barney says it’s not a waste of taxpayers money to put new sirens in place.

“We need to cover all of the outdoor area in St. Louis County as much as possible,” Barney said.

Those sirens were paid for by a tax increase passed in 2009. Barney says there’s money left over, but it’s meant for maintenance of those outdoor sirens.

Other communities around the country have started using electronic or on-line based alert systems.

Barney said, so far, he isn’t aware of talks to use a similar system in the St. Louis area. Residents say they are hoping for more movement in that direction.

“Yeah, if there are other methods to alert people in the home, I would be all for it,” said St. Louis County resident Mitch Howard.

Howard thinks a combination of alerts would be best, though really, he wants just one thing.

“Hopefully we don’t have a tornado,” he said.

 

Barney says the very best way to be notified of storms is with a weather radio. 

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