Drew County debating need for emergency sirens

Local News

MONTICELLO, Ark. — Emergency sirens are designed to warn us in the event of a life-threatening situation – like a tornado.  One county in Arkansas is deciding whether or not it will continue to use them.

There are 27 sirens across Drew County but according to Resolution # 2021-2 the County Quorum Court said they are “outdated technology” when it comes to declaring an emergency.

Wednesday was another busy day at the Office of Emergency Management with tornado watches and warning issued across the state.

The focus this month is on a conversation about if emergency sirens are still needed.

“Our sirens don’t pick up storms coming or whatever, they just don’t do that,” Drew County Office of Emergency Mangement Coordinator, Jessie Griffin said. “So the technology of people sending out messages and stuff is the way to go.”

Griffin said a proposed resolution aims to get rid of all 27 sirens in the county. He also said there are better ways for them alert people in an emergency.

“I don’t believe anybody in the county doesn’t have some kind of phone,” Griffin said. “Like I said we’re smart people down here… we know when the weather gets bad we go inside.”

He said they are already using a system that leaves a message on everyone’s phone during emergencies and they can continue to use that.

Meanwhile the County quorum court said the up keep and repairs for the sirens are costly.

“You can get this app, you can get this and see the quickness of how it comes in and things of that nature and we’re not spending that much money,” Griffin said.

The siren system is currently manual, which also requires a lot of work. During our tour of the system, one of the sirens that was tested didn’t work, even though the system said it was good to operate.

If this proposed resolution is passed — the County would start phasing out the emergency sirens in the next 18 to 24 months.

“We’re going to maintain them,” Griffin said.

Since some of the sirens are located within city limits — the city council would have to vote decide if they will keep those.

The meeting for this resolution is April 12th.

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