Arab City Council votes to move away from outdated tornado sirens

Northeast Alabama

ARAB, Ala. – The City of Arab voted Monday night to move on from their tornado sirens.

The Arab City Council took two weeks to get feedback from the community, as well as educate residents on why the sirens are outdated.

Arab has seen significant tornadoes and loss of life from those tornadoes. So many residents, when they heard the sirens could be going away, saw them as a crutch to get them through severe weather season.

Weather experts say there are better options on the table and the council agrees.

“Sirens were born out of the Cold War and they were meant for a more Agrarian culture when folks worked outside instead of leaving their homes to go into town and work,” said News 19 Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson.

Arab Mayor Bob Joslin says feedback from the weather community helped ease fears for Arab residents.

“They believe in those weather men. And also our EMA Director for Marshall County, She was on board,” said Joslin.

As technology has advanced, the sirens have not. Alerts on your phone and NOAA weather radios could trigger faster and won’t require as much TLC as the sirens.

“The apps are free and they’re just as good as the weather radio but we always want to use the NOAA weather radio as the primary resource because the transmitter does not fail often,” explained Simpson.

Keep in mind, Marshall County still has plenty of tornado sirens.

The City of Arab already has a budget to allow the fire department to purchase weather radios in bulk as a replacement to the sirens for $24 a radio. The purchases will be done as needed to avoid the radios getting old and outdated.

Residents can get them for free from their local fire departments. They can be plugged in and they come with batteries should they been needed.

As for what’s next for the Arab tornado sirens, eventually they will be recycled.

“We will probably take them down because there’s people that can use them for repair parts,” said Arab Mayor Bob Joslin. “That’s part of the problem. We have fourteen sirens within the city limits. Ten are in some workable condition, four do not work at all.”

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