The City of Wichita Falls is working to improve the outdoor warning siren system. The City is in year three of a four year process of replacing some of the oldest storm sirens in town. Some of the oldest sirens have been in the elements for five decades or more.
The 4-B Sales Tax Board and the City Council have approved funding of near $150,000 for the project. Residents that lived through the 1979 tornado are happy to hear the news. "You can hear some of them sometimes, but sometimes you can't," said Marie Schlarb. She lost her home in Terrible Tuesday.
Schlarb said she thinks it's a good move. "I think it would help a lot of people in this area if we had newer sirens and if everyone can hear them," she said. She said she does not think she and her family would have survived the storm without warning.
City Emergency Preparedness Coordinator John Henderson said the project is to upgrade the old Thunderbolt model sirens to modern ones. "Like anything they need to be phased out, replaced with newer more modern sirens that are more reliable," he said.
Henderson said residents should rely on primary means of warning, such as TV and the Code Red system, but the outdoor warning sirens provide an additional layer of backup. They are not designed to be the primary warning system, but come in handy "When you're outside and you don't have any other way of hearing of a warning of a tornado or high winds."