Boaz officials consider doing away with storm sirens

The use of new technology lessens the reliance on these sirens for area residents
WAFF's Savannah Sapp reporting
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 9:46 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:26 AM CST

BOAZ, Ala. (WAFF) - When a severe weather threat arrives, we all recognize the sound of a tornado siren. In the city of Boaz, these sirens could soon be gone.

Boaz Fire Department Chief Jeff Beck says there are problems with some of the sirens in the area.

“I just made them aware that we’re having some issues,” Beck said. “Some of them are not 100% working. They are working, but they have multiple amplifiers, like eight speakers and some of them have like four or five that are still working. I know a lot of cities are doing away with them just because of technology. Nowadays those are out of date.”

For years, many people have relied on weather sirens for alerts, but an official with the National Weather Service says these sirens should not to be your first warning.

NWS Meteorologist Ashley Ravenscraft stresses the importance of redundancy when it comes to being weather aware.

“It’s important to remember they’re intended for outdoor use only, so if you’re at like an outdoor event like a ball game, things like that,” Ravenscraft said. “They’re not intended to wake you up inside your home.”

Chief Beck understands that for most people, sirens have been the only way to know a weather threat is near, but with advancing technology, there are plenty of quicker methods of being notified.

“Back in the 80s before cellphones and computers, you know that was how everyone got alerted regardless, but nowadays everyone carries a phone,” he said.

With new technology like weather radios, televisions, and the WAFF 48 Weather app, the reliance on these sirens has diminished for some residents, but they could still serve their purpose when other methods fail.

Beck wants to be clear that no decision has been made yet regarding the long-standing sirens.

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