Village once considered eliminating system, but officials say equipment is more flexible, efficient
The Village of Saukville is back under the protection of an enhanced warning siren system, according to a report Emergency Management Director Jack Morrison gave to the Public Safety Committee last week.
The loud, pole-mounted sirens are sounded when threatening weather — especially the potential for tornadoes — is heading toward the community.
The warning devices have been an ongoing issue of debate in the village, especially as the equipment began to fail and replacement parts became increasingly difficult to find.
When a new control system was installed in 2012 by American Signal, Morrison noted that the fix did not fully address the problems associated with the failing system.
“We are looking at sirens that are 40 to 50 years old,” Morrison told village officials at the time.
At the time, there was talk about eliminating the warning system because of the proliferation of mobile apps that keep cell phone users posted on threatening weather patterns.
Instead of scrapping the siren system, Morrison drafted a replacement plan in 2015 that reduced the number of sirens from four to three.
Sirens have been replaced on Progress Drive, as well as in Quade Park and near the Walmart store.
The new sirens are stationary, rather than rotating, but provide the same or better coverage, Morrison said. They are also more energy efficient.
Under the new coverage pattern, the siren on North Mill Street has been de-activated.
“When we took down the siren on North Mill Street, the guy who lives next door practically danced a gig,” Morrison told the committee.
“He’d been listening to that siren for 50 years.”
Morrison said the new sirens will be compatible with county equipment and more easily activated.
In addition, they can be used to alert residents when dangerous straight-line winds threaten the area.
As an added bonus, the village was able to sell the old sirens on an online auction site for $730. The equipment was purchased by the Wisconsin community of Redgranite in Waushara County.
In addition, We Energies removed the no-longer needed siren pole at no charge to the village. It was expected that removal would cost $1,500.
“That is all thanks to the negotiating power of Jack Morrison,” Village Administrator Dawn Wagner told the committee.
Sporadic testing of the equipment continues, but the sirens will get a full test when the county takes part in the statewide emergency warning system exercise on April 20.