Commissioners pledge money to repair Mahoning County's broken, aging sirens
"People have become accustomed to them, so they're looking for that and it is a great backup," says Robin Lees, deputy director of the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency.
In this day and age, they're also costly and not meant to be heard at long range.
But Lees says the familiarity of warning sirens is a big reason county commissioners continue to maintain them.
"They're just not ready to let go or let those sirens go," he said Thursday.
Which is why at Thursday's meeting, commissioners approved $130,000 to keep 10 of them going.
They've needed their control boxes fixed.
Lees tells 21 News that's a separate mechanism from the sirens themselves.
He says the county should've already been settled into the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS.
Weather and other alerts are sent to your phone much like AMBER alerts.
But supply chain issues have dragged things out.
"None of these systems are infallible," said Lees. "Once we introduce the new IPAWS system, which should be any day now, we're just waiting to the digital certificate...say next year or the year after, we'll start to re-evaluate what the need is."
Lees says FEMA should give its final approval for IPAWS anytime.
In tandem with sirens, he believes it'll be a one-two counterpunch when nature flexes its muscle.