Sedgwick County Emergency Management officials are confident their outdoor sirens will work within the polygon warning system Friday night should a tornado warning have to be issued.
But they’re ready to sound every siren in the county as a fallback, just as they did on April 8.
On that night, a computer wasn’t reading the latitude and longitude of a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service for western Sedgwick County, so every siren was activated – even though Wichita itself was never threatened by tornadoes.
“We have rebooted each of these machines a couple of times” since April 8, interim emergency manager John Crosby said.
They’re confident that will allow the system to work as it is supposed to: read the coordinates for the geographic areas included in a tornado warning and then activate only the sirens within those zones.
But if it takes more than two minutes for the system to do that, Crosby said, he’ll sound every siren in the county.
“We’re not going to take any more time and put people in harm’s way,” Crosby said.
The company that provided the upgrades to the siren system has identified the issue as well as a repair, he said, but no timetable for the work has been set.
Every siren in the system except one is functioning property, Crosby said. The lone exception, in Goddard, was knocked off-line by a squirrel that got into a power line and blew the siren’s fuse.
Westar officials have been contacted and repairs are anticipated shortly, Crosby said.