ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A total of 25 emergency alert sirens will be removed from unincorporated areas of St. Clair County, officials announced this week.
In a Facebook post, the St. Clair County EMA wrote that many neighbors recently complained about not being able to hear sirens.
The St. Clair County Commission approved hiring a company to remove the sirens.
“In 2019 we have reliable credible technology, that is easily accessible to the public and that is the technology that we want the public to rely on,” said James Hill, attorney for the St. Clair County Commission.
Some neighbors in St. Clair County told CBS 42 they have grown accustomed to hearing the sound from the siren.
“Our power was out, but we were still able to hear the sirens. It had already run our phones dead,” said Greg Wilson, who lives in Margaret.
Emergency leaders and meteorologists urge all neighbors to have multiple ways to get alerts in the event of an emergency. Relying on any one form, including a siren, can be dangerous.
Weather alert apps, like the CBS 42 Storm Team App, and weather radios are more reliable forms of technology.
For residents who live in rural areas of the county, there are concerns about cell phone service.
“I have cell phone service and I live on a big hill in Margaret so I have decent cell phone service there but people below where we live don’t, so they know they are looking at that [siren] as a safety net,” said Wilson.
According to Hill, the county will receive thousands of dollars in grant money to purchase weather radios for citizens. The tools will likely be distributed at area senior centers first and then to other neighbors in need.
“That’s the product that we want to put in the hands of individuals who have concerns about the technology of the cell phones, or where they live related to the cell phone services. We want to make sure they get this radio weather technology,” said Hill.
All 25 sirens that will be removed are not working, though not everyone agrees with the decision.
“I think the more options there are, the better it is,” said Wilson.
While some neighbors like Wilson preferred to see the sirens stay, Hill said it could provide a false sense of security.
“What all the professionals have told us is that as long as those sirens are visible to the public, the public will instinctively rely upon them and if they are relying upon them and we know they don’t operate, that’s not a position we want us or them to be in,” said Hill.
For more information on the CBS 42 Storm Team Weather App, click here.
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