Marshall Co. Commission, EMA continue discussion about outdoor warning sirens

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- The discussion continues in Marshall County on the future of the county's outdoor warning sirens. Marshall County EMA officials will be asking county commissioners to discuss potential action on ten sirens that could be problematic. The discussion in the past was to replace them or get rid of them.

Marshall County commissioners and the Marshall County EMA are discussing a long-term plan for the county's 59 outdoor warning sirens. They're looking at emerging technology. The talks revolved around whether to remove the sirens altogether, commit to making the repairs when needed, or to get rid of sirens in some areas where they're not needed. The county's cities have their own sirens.

Earlier this year Marshall County EMA officials identified ten older units the manufacturer stopped producing parts for. Those sirens would need front panel upgrades if they go down. “We are going to be requesting of the Commission at their direction at the next Commission meeting a proposal to go out for bid on one or more affecting those ten sirens, and as they go down, look at replacing those,” explained Marshall County EMA Director Anita McBurnett.

The price for repairs is about $75,000 for all ten. There's no word on the cost to remove them altogether.

This discussion is part of a broader one.

“This is a statewide issue. It’s not just one that impacts Marshall County. So, there is discussion still going on statewide by the counties about outdoor warning sirens as to the long-term viability of that technology,” McBurnett said, “They’re meant to warn people out-of-doors, and in a location like Marshall County where you have a large number of outdoor activities, people out on the lake with the State Park, all of the different events that are going on, they still have a place.”

The discussion will continue looking at costs, viability, and emerging technology. “I applaud the Commission’s effort on looking into those different avenues and not making a snap decision, but looking at what’s best for the citizens of Marshall County,” McBurnett said.

Marshall County has 59 sirens. All of them are operational except for one in Grassy that needs batteries.