With weather sirens not working properly in Dothan and Houston County, the Dothan/Houston County EMA is working continuously on addressing concerns from the public.
“I know there are concerns about the weather sirens malfunctioning,” said EMA Director Chris Judah. “We are addressing this issue and believe me we are not the only county having trouble with weather sirens. You have to keep in mind we are working with technology that is 30 years old.”
The EMA office performs weekly silent tests on the weather sirens to make sure the equipment is working properly.
“Recently when the sirens went off due to a malfunctioning issue, we strongly believe that malfunction was caused by moisture building up on the ribbon. But the weekly tests showed the equipment was working properly.”
Last Monday, the agency performed its weekly silent test and, once again, the tests showed the equipment was working properly. But Dothan and Houston residents endured Sunday’s storms without the weather sirens sending out alerts.
“A repeater went down Sunday, and when the repeater went down it caused the sirens not to work” Judah said. “That is why I constantly remind everyone not to depend on the outside weather sirens. These sirens are designed to only be heard outside, not inside. That’s also the reason I beg everyone -- and I do mean beg -- enroll in our Code Red Program, buy a weather radio, and always stay in tune with your local media outlets. Don’t depend on the weather sirens for your safety.”
The repeater will be replaced and the sirens should work as they are designed, alerting those outside of severe weather approaching.
“Yes, I constantly preach to everyone about the dangers of depending on weather sirens,” Judah said. “But so many don’t realize they are only designed for outside alerts. The alerts usually can’t be heard inside a home. The other reason I remind everyone to sign up for Code Red or to purchase a weather radio is the weather sirens are old technology. We are doing the best we can with what we have to inform the area of severe weather, but when you have old technology this is a problem you will have. The bottom line is older technology brings problems and that is all part of it. We’re not making excuses regarding this problem. We take public safety very serious.”
Houston County and Dothan were very fortunate during Sunday’s storms, Judah said. The area received very minimal damage and no injuries were reported.