Township Tornado Sirens Are Going Away; Not Everyone Is Happy
Kalamazoo Township's decision to de-commission and discontinue its tornado warning sirens this year has some local residents upset.
As WOOD-TV reported late last year, the Kalamazoo Township decision is based on the cost of maintaining the system and the lack of availability of replacement parts. An internal estimate figures a price tag of over $250,000 to attempt to bring the existing system back to the operational level it was a decade ago.
Kalamazoo Township has a total of nine pole-mounted tornado sirens. Four are mounted at the fire stations and were installed in the 1960s. An additional five were donated to the township in 2004 by the Palisades Power Plant. At the time of donation, those five sirens were already 15 years old. - WOOD TV
The warning siren system's original intent was to complement other methods of notification, i.e., radio, weather radio, television, and more recently, cellphones, as a method of outdoor warning.
But as this news is being spread, some are not happy with the change. A quick scan of the discussion on the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook page shows many are expressing concern for seniors who are not as tech savvy as others.
Cathy Boris saying, "Many senior citizens may be totally out of touch with what’s going on."
Debra Dinstett-Mejeur echoed that comment: "I've been through a tornado at night without sirens. It hit a senior citizen community. Multiple injuries but no deaths. We don't have our cell phones on or in the bedroom during the night. We wouldn't know until it's too late.
But adding some perspective is Paul Mejia" "The official name of these devices is “outdoor warming sirens” and there are no guarantees they will be heard indoors within the range they were designed to be heard outside. We now have cellular message alerts and NOAA SAME radios are also effective. It was just a matter of time before the old warning sirens would become obsolete."
The story says, "For Kalamazoo Township residents uncomfortable using smartphones to get weather information or alerts, board members say they will be providing weather alert devices at cost so everyone in their community can stay safe."
Another thing to remember is a tornado could wipe out a cell tower or two in a storm, reminding us that no system is perfect when extreme weather conditions exist.