Starting next month, St. Louis County will begin work on a new emergency alert system that officials say will broadcast tornado and other emergency alters to most of the county.
The county currently has just over 200 sirens, but Garry Earls, the county's executive officer says that many of those sirens are either broken or outdated. He says some of the sirens are muffled by tall buildings. Others are simply places in low areas.
The county is embarking on an estimated $8 million project to replace most of those sirens.
One hundred and sixty nine new sirens will be installed by next June. Sixteen more from the old system will remain in place, which means the county will be covered by 185 sirens. That's less than what the county has now, but the new sirens are put in with the promise of more coverage for residents in the county.
"The sirens will be far more powerful. We'll mount them a little higher, we'll get better coverage from each individual siren," said Earls.
Each new sirens will be solar-powered with speakers on all sides. The sirens will also be able to broadcast verbal commands.
See where current sirens are located in St. Louis County: www.co.st-louis.mo.us/police/oem/siren_2.html
See where the sirens will be located by the time the overhaul is complete: media.kmov.com/documents/NewSirenSystem.pdf
Money for the new system will come from a sales tax increase approved by voters last November. Sixty seven percent of voters (93,387 voters) approved Prop E-911.
Other money raised by Prop E-911 will be used for emergency radio communications.