Some sirens silent in statewide drill

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tornado sirens sounded across the state as emergency management agencies tested equipment ahead of the spring severe weather season.

The statewide drill called for all 88 counties in Ohio to sound their tornado sirens at 9:50 a.m.

In Mahoning County, 51 sirens were tested and five did not function properly including those in Austintown, the west side of Youngstown, Campbell, Struthers and Boardman.

Interim Mahoning County EMA Director Dennis O’Hara is looking to double the number of sirens in the county. He admits it will take time and money sinvr each one costs on average about $24,000.

Mahoning County also tests its sirens every Saturday at noon.

In Trumbull County, where there are 93 sirens, a siren in Girard did not sound. Sirens in Kinsman and Farmington also malfunctioned.

Diagnostics will be run on the sirens to determine what caused the malfunctions.

In Columbiana County, a siren in East Liverpool sounded but it was about 10  minutes late.

The siren works double duty as an evacuation siren for the nuclear power plant and weather emergency siren. Columbiana County Communications Coordinator Don Kemp said even though it took a four attempts to signal the siren, everything worked and the siren sustained a signal for the three minutes is was programmed to run.

EMA official Gary Amato said if there was a real emergency and the siren failed, the county has a backup plan to keep residents safe.

“The police and fire departments would know an emergency signal was being sent. If it didn’t fire, police and fire would go around with a public address system advising people of the messages that need to be put out. There are backups in place,” said Amato.

Amateur radio operators were utilized during the drill and asked to report back to police and fire departments when and if they heard the siren.

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