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Are tornado sirens relevant anymore

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By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - Tornado sirens can be found all across Region 8, but city officials in Prairie Grove, Arkansas are considering getting rid of theirs. They say it would cost a lot of money to replace them because two of the three sirens have broken parts.

The city instead may be looking at a county-wide communication system that would alert the public by telephone, email or text message. 

However, back in Region 8, Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House believes it's very important to have tornado sirens.

House said, "At this point in time, I would never think of not having or encouraging or endorsing a tornado warning system."

Walnut Ridge recently installed a new siren back in March bringing the cities total to four.

"It is an outdoor warning system. A lot of people think it's an indoor system," said House.

But many times people are outside when severe weather quickly approaches. Mayor House feels that the outdoor warning system works better than a message sent to your phone. 

"Think of the children that's out on the ball field that may not be able to have access to their cell phone because they can't play ball and talk on their cell phone at the same time," said House.

Even in this world of technology, some people still don't have a cell phone or receive text messages.

House said, "We have a lot of elderly people. We have a lot of people that cannot afford that cell phone."

He said that tornado sirens cost a lot of money, but they are worth it. Cities can even apply for grants to help with purchasing a siren.

House said, "There's some expense to it, but nothing compared to protecting our city and losing lives."

Mayor House said they are always looking to add more sirens in Walnut Ridge. He adds that tornado sirens are still the most effective way to alert people that are working or attending outdoor events.

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