Cherokee County phasing out weather sirens


    One east Alabama county diverted money from outdoor tornado sirens repairs to buy weather radios for residents.

    Cherokee County has 16 outdoor warning sirens. Six of them need costly repairs.

    "Given the cost of the repairs I talked to a couple of other directors around the state and we kind of talked about weather radios," Shawn Rogers, Director of the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency said.

    The Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency purchased 200 weather radios. That money would have been spent on repairing the sirens.

    "The sirens have been up for a long time and [residents have] grown accustomed to expecting to hear them when there's bad weather," Rogers said.

    Traditional weather sirens operate on a radio frequency. In Cherokee County, there can be a lot of interference.

    Rogers says that makes them unreliable, but the weather radios offer a solution.

    "They are operating on a dedicated frequency that's maintained by the National Weather Service," Rogers explained.

    Rogers says the plan is to phase out the county's weather sirens.

    "The weather radios are little but better as far as if they're in your home," Kathy Marko a Cherokee County resident said. "Everybody can hear that and not have to depend on an alarm system that might be too far away from your home."

    Cherokee County residents living on a fixed income, the elderly, and those with disabilities can request a weather radio from the EMA.

    The EMA also has strobe lights to connect to the weather radios for those with hearing impairments.

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