Most Marion sirens fail during tornado warning
Some residents were concerned Monday that Marion’s storm sirens sounded needlessly for a report of a tornado in the northern part of the county.
As it turns out, most of the sirens didn’t go off, and city workers were rushing Tuesday to fix a malfunction that left the city with only a few less powerful sirens instead of its normal compliment of six.
Marion’s hardwired sirens malfunctioned when police attempted to turn them on at 7:33 p.m. Monday.
Utility supervisor Marty Fredrickson said winds might have blown the system’s signal wire into another wire or the side of a building causing a breaker to trip.
Crews attempted to find and fix the problem on Tuesday but struggled to locate its source.
“The breaker tripped again; we have no idea where the problem is at,” electrician Randy Kelsey said. “We’re still in the process of trying to figure it out.”
Only one of six hardwired sirens functioned correctly when crews tested the system Tuesday.
“We hope to have the problem fixed as soon as possible,” Frederickson said, adding that Marion would not be without sirens.
“We have two battery-powered backup sirens that work if something does happen like it did,” Fredrickson said. “Those are what we used throughout the tornado warning Monday night.”
The two sirens are not as loud as Marion’s normal six sirens.
Sirens are tested for a minute at noon every other Monday. The test alternates between hardwired and battery-powered sirens. Crews also do a more in-depth system check twice a year in tandem with state tests.
After Monday’s malfunction, Fredrickson said, crews will make a better effort during weekly tests to ensure that the system is working correctly by engaging sirens for more than a minute, thus allowing crews more time to check their function.
“Usually residents call and tell us if they notice a siren isn’t working,” Fredrickson said. “We didn’t have any calls Monday night. We encourage residents to call us anytime if they notice one isn’t working right.”
Fredrickson is at (620) 382-6671, city electricians are at (620) 382-6670, and Marion police are at (620) 382-2165.