On local news…

To be honest I was a little disturbed by what showed up in the local news last week, mainly because of the amount of inaccurate information presented. For those wondering what exactly I’m referring to see: When It Matters Most, Tornado Sirens Don’t Sound – WOI or WRONG FORMAT: Madrid’s Sirens Faulty

About the only accurate information in either story is that people should have multiple sources for weather information be it TV, AM/FM Radio or a Weather Radio.

However, most of the explanation for the sirens failing to activate this week was not accurate.

“Boone county just changed their system to be completely digital” “The sirens are still in analog format, which is why they didnt go off”
False. The Boone County digital system went live last October. However, the channel the sirens receive on is still analog as it has been for years. The only change made to the system that affects that channel was to comply with the FCC narrowbanding rule, which took effect January 1, 2013. Boone County was granted a waiver by the FCC which granted an additional year to make the switch. The rule change was announced well in advance of the 2013 deadline, plenty of time for the city to have checked their equipment and see if it was compliant with the FCC requirements.

Similar incidents had been reported in other Iowa communities in 2011 & 2012 as well due to this same change, perhaps this should have been a clue to the city to check their equipment.

“The county should have taken more responsibility”
As pointed out by Polk County Emergency Management in the WHO piece the sirens are the city’s responsibility to maintain, not the county’s.

The city had a new storm siren that was slated to be installed behind the fire department a few years ago, but it was never installed.

The long and short of the matter is, the city had plenty of time to ensure the sirens were ready and did not do it.

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