Crash causes community to be without tornado siren for several weeks

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - As we are getting into the severe weather season, one community in Madison County is without their outdoor tornado siren. The siren has been out of commission since a vehicle struck it last month.

Caution tape and leaning bollards are the only signs left of what's missing.

Madison County EMA

Madison County EMA

This is a picture of the crash near the Kelly Spring and Highway 53 intersection where the vehicle damaged siren. Madison County Emergency Management Director Jeff Birdwell said the vehicle, "hit it and actually bent it over."

Birdwell says he was afraid it would fall over so a crew removed it.  But it's been a few weeks and still no siren. People can see the caution tape from the Wagon Wheel Village neighborhood. A lot of people live near the siren and one viewer reached out to WHNT News 19 asking if we could find out when the siren would be replaced.

Birdwell says a new siren has been ordered but it will take another four to six weeks before they get another siren so he's asking people to stay weather aware. "The issue is you have to order them and they actually build them once you order them."

"We get a lot of people from the public that the expectation is you know, 'I should be able to hear it inside my home.' That may not be the case. So what we always say is to have multiple ways of receiving a warning," he said.

Out of 130 sirens in the county, this is the only one out of commission. EMA officials use a computer system to check the sirens every day. "All of these that are green, they're currently operational, but you see MC 18 there is red. There's a problem with that one," Birdwell said.

You might hear when they're tested once a month and every three years a vendor individually inspects each one.

Emergency management officials say most issues with sirens are caused by general wear and tear. Director Birdwell says this is the first time he has heard of a car damaging one.

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