Wilson County residents complain tornado sirens didn't sound
Jan 30, 2013 4:43 PM
Reported By Tracee Tolentino, Reporter - bio | email
Reported By Todd Dunn, Video Journalist - bio | email
WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. -
As many Wilson County residents woke up on Wednesday to survey the storm damage, some had no idea a tornado even hit. The overnight the storms are now raising some serious safety questions.
"I got an alert on my cell phone saying Wilson County was under a tornado warning, but no sirens," Mt. Juliet resident Janelle Stone told Nashville's News 2.
Stone is not the only Wilson County resident who did not hear the tornado sirens.
"We have had some citizens contact us and they were concerned that they did not hear their sirens this morning and that concerns us too," Cpt. Stephen Spencer, planning officer with the Wilson Co. Emergency Management Agency said.
According to Cpt. Spencer, all 17 of the county's sirens were each activated four times between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
"We activate our weather time usually about an hour, an hour and a half before the storms reach the edge of our county," he explained. "It is one of the tools that we use to notify the public of warnings and we want this stuff to work the way it is supposed to work."
According to officials, the sirens are tested every month so it's unclear why people didn't hear them.
"The [siren] sound doesn't carry during the storms like it carries on a clear day," Spencer said. "You may not hear the siren because you're used to hearing it when you're outside."
Spencer confirms that the sirens were all activated.
"We did check the signal and the signal did go out so they should have activated," he said.
While some areas of Wilson County experienced a power outage, Spencer does not believe that is to blame.
"The sirens on the west side of the county have battery backup so even if there's a power loss the sirens should activate some of the older sirens that's we have on the east side of the county are electrically operated so if the power goes out they may not work but we didn't have that power outage in Lebanon," said Spencer.
Officials spent time inspecting and activating all of the sirens on Thursday to make sure they are working properly and to make sure they were not damaged in Wednesday's storms.
All seven sirens tested on Thursday worked correctly. Crews will test the remaining sirens on Friday.