Tornado siren maintenance

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - One of our concerned viewers reached out to Newschannel 6 about tornado siren maintenance.
We checked other sirens around Wichita Falls and talked with that viewer and city officials about the maintenance program.
One man is concerned about a busted conduit on the tornado siren near McNiel Middle School that is exposing wires.
But city officials said it is safe and does not affect the functionality of the siren.
    "I continue to ride my bike past the siren," John Dillard, a local resident said. "Three and a half years later the broken conduit still is very visible on this siren."
Dillard lives two blocks from McNiel Middle School and regularly rides his bike on the trails that surround it, constantly passing by one of the city's tornado sirens.
Almost three and a half years ago he contacted the city about the broken conduit.
When that siren recently malfunctioned, Dillard rode by and saw the same wires still exposed.
    "Rain can enter the broken conduit," Dillard said. "And with the freeze and thaw cycles working on those wires, I wouldn't be surprised if a short happened."
Doug Wooster, an Operations Technician, said that is not something that will happen.
    "It's not going to affect it at all," Wooster said. "The wires are just a speaker wire that runs the speaker up top. And they are wire coated with plastic. There is not going to be anything that shorts out in there."
But it is something that needs to be fixed, and it's not the only siren in town with the problem.
Dillard said he just wants all the sirens working if a tornado threatens the area.
    "We really have a great tornado warning system," Dillard said. "It is much better than the previous system. I would just like to see our city continue to make everything they can as excellent as possible."
Wooster said the recent siren malfunction was because a battery exploded in another siren on the north side of town, creating a voltage spike picked up by the siren next to McNiel Middle School.
He added the city will come out and fix it, along with others, in the near future.
We are going to keep an eye on it.
We did check four other sirens that had no visible problems.
In addition to the monthly test we all hear, the city tests all the sirens silently on a weekly basis to detect problems.
But there are 52 sirens in town and it can be hard for them to catch everything that might be wrong.
If you see something, you are asked to call the city's traffic engineering division or the police non-emergency number.

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