Pelham to phase out tornado sirens

PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Currently there are 29 storm/tornado sirens inside the Pelham city limits.  But most of them won’t be around much longer.  The city has decided to phase the 30 year old technology out, as they wear out.  City leaders say weather radios and smart phones give better more up to date information.   And someone to flip the switch isn’t required.

But this move isn’t sitting well with everyone.  “That’s really our first way of knowing what’s going on,” says Kathryn Dorris.  CBS 42 was the first to inform Dorris and her friend Jennifer Lambert of the decision.  Lambert, who has already been looking at underground storm shelters, says “I heard them on the radio.  But now it’s something we might actually have to look into.”

It’s not just Pelham residents concerned about this.  Not everyone who works there, lives there.  Mandy Frye works at Sunbelt rentals on Commerce Drive.   She feels the siren right behind their building is and will be needed for a long time.  “I understand we have the text messages, and the alerts and things like that.  So there is new technology to make us aware.  You know some people only have the sirens to rely on,” she says.

We left several messages for Pelham Mayor Gary Waters to get more specifics on how and why this was happening.  Unfortunately, none of those messages were returned.  But when we last spoke to him about this, he told us that he felt this was a way for residents to take more control of their own safety.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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