Mayor of Arab proposes removing tornado warning sirens in favor of new technology

'They’re 30-plus years old. That’s old technology, and so, we need to be in the 21st century and move forward.'

Posted: Apr 15, 2021 5:34 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2021 5:48 PM

Some communities say tornado warning sirens are a thing of the past.

New technology means you have better, more efficient ways to get the warnings. The main severe weather tips Alabamians told WAAY 31 are to stay weather aware and to not solely rely on the weather sirens. 

It's even more important now to get weather notifications by phone or a NOAA radio because the Mayor of Arab, Bob Joslin, told WAAY 31 he is proposing to City Council on Monday to get rid of their weather sirens. 

“They’re 30-plus years old. That’s old technology, and so, we need to be in the 21st century and move forward," said Joslin.

Four out of the 14 weather sirens in Arab do not work. Joslin said it would cost about $90,000 to repair them.

He said they're about 30 years old, and the way people get their weather notifications has changed. Joslin said they will have plans in place to help people if his proposal gets approved.

“For those people that don’t have any other means of notification like a cellphone, or they’re not watching TV or they’re not listening to the radio, or whatever, that we furnish them a weather radio, and it’d be much better than the weather sirens,” he said.

Arab is hoping to follow Albertville's lead on removing the weather sirens.

There will still be sirens throughout parts of Marshall County, though. The Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director, Anita McBurnett, said they're planning to keep their weather sirens for the time being, but they're encouraging people to not rely on the outdoor sirens. 

“What we’re trying to do is get people to think about going to different ways to receiving their notifications and not rely on outdoor warning sirens, and so, I think you’re going to see across the nation and this state, certainly in this county as well, a fazing out of those sirens."

Joslin said they're hoping to receive a grant to build more community storm shelters.

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