MURRAY - With the possibility of stormy weather over the next week looming, Friday’s test of Murray and Calloway County’s emergency sirens could not have been better timed.
It also appears that it could not have gone better.
Calloway County Emergency Management Director Bill Call said the test resulted in 100 percent success, with every siren in the system operating proficiently.
“They worked perfectly, in fact, and we don’t get too many tests that go that way,” Call said. “Usually, we have tests where at least one thing goes wrong, but this test was not like that. Everything worked exactly how it is intended.
“That’s good news, too, with a rather stormy outlook for the week in place. This gives us confidence that – if they’re needed at least – there’s a good chance they will work as they did during the test.”
Forecasts from the National Weather Service Office in Paducah call for chances of showers and thunderstorms nearly every day this week. It is not yet known if severe weather – such as hail, high winds and the main reason for the sirens in the first place, tornadoes – are seen as threats, but storms can evolve to that level with little or no warning and can also become severe on days that is not supposed to happen.
That is why problems such as the one experienced a few years ago with the siren near the Hazel Community Center, which is intended to cover the north side of that community, are something Call does not like to see arise.
In that case, bearings that helped the siren rotate all the way around had gone bad, causing the siren to come to a certain point and stop. It would still make sound, but it was not able to spread the maximum amount of volume throughout its coverage area.
“The problem didn’t really show up until we experienced hot conditions. The heat would cause it to seize up,” Call said. “So we had the manufacturer come in and they repaired it about two years ago and, so far, we haven’t had any other problems with it, but that was something that was worrying us come this time of year.”
Call reminds everybody that even though sirens can be heard indoors, the main purpose for them is to provide an added element of protection for anyone who is outside when threatening weather is imminent. The sirens also are intended to only sound during tornado warnings in Calloway County.
Sirens are positioned at varying locations at Murray State University, including the West Farm, as well as the Riviera Courts Mobile Home Community, the intersection of Glendale Road and Whitnell Avenue and near the intersection of Doran and Wiswell roads, as well as atop Murray Fire Department Station No. 1 downtown. They are at the Community Center and the former Hazel Fire Department station downtown in Hazel.
Call also advises that the best means of receiving warnings is via local media, NOAA weather radio, social media or the Code RED system that is managed by the Calloway County government. Signup is available by visiting the Calloway government website at www.calloway-ky.gov or by phoning the Calloway judge-executive’s office at 270-753-2920. That system is free and will send warnings via phone or computer.