Officials say the cost to maintain tornado sirens is worth it

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. Tornado warning sirens can play a big role in giving us a heads up when severe weather hits.

However some people are wondering if it's worth the cost to even have them, especially if they don't function properly, considering we have better technology at our fingertips.

"The most upsetting thing is that a service that our citizens rely on did not function properly. I'm going to assume that it causes some people some anxiety," said Frank Schoenboom, Battlefield City Administrator.

There are four sirens in Battlefield. Not one of them went off when storms hit early Monday morning.

"There was a tornado that went through her in 2003, explained Schoenboom. "There are many people who were here at that time. When there's a thunderstorm or a severe thunderstorm, that gets everybody edgy anyway, people will get anxious because of that experience.

An EF-3 slammed Greene County including parts of Battlefield more than 15 years-ago.

"Anything that we can do to notify the public, in a potential emergency, we need to do," said Schoenboom.

Larry Woods, the Director of the Greene County Office of Emergency Management, said, "We need to be prepared on a 24 hour basis here. There still is a place for outdoor warning sirens in the warning tool box."

He monitors active weather conditions.

"We can activate different zones within the system or we can set all the sirens off, county-wide, simultaneously," he explained.

Woods said they still serve a purpose in the community.

"We do have a lot of parks in this area, a lot of outdoor activities in this area. That's what those outdoor warning sirens were meant to warn people," he said.

No malfunctions were recorded during the last test run.

Woods said, "To our knowledge everything worked fine."

Schoneboom is working with the maintenance company to find out what went wrong this week.

"The taxpayers pay for these things and they didn't function properly. My whole goal is to determine why, get it fixed, so that it doesn't happen again," he said.

It costs $564 a year to inspect, maintain and make repairs to each siren in Greene County.

Battlefield paid $2000 for the four in their city last year.

Officials said that most of the expense is incurred when they are installed.

Read the original version of this article at www.kspr.com.