ASSIGNMENT 13: Warning sirens get first test of 2013, one failure reported

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Weather warning sirens blared across the Chippewa Valley Monday for the first test of the year.

The drill is getting the area ready for what dangerous spring and summer weather Mother Nature has in store for us.

WEAU 13 News cameras were rolling as sirens stationed at North High School, the Eau Claire School District Headquarters and in Altoona all sounded and rotated.

But not all of Eau Claire County's 22 sirens passed the first test.

Eau Claire County Emergency Management says the siren at Longfellow Elementary School off Birch Street was the only one that failed.

“The manufacturer and the vendor have been notified as well as the municipality which that resides in, the city of Eau Claire. I imagine that will be fixed very quickly once they identify the problem,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Hurley.

Hurley said harsh winter weather could be to blame, but it's most likely a battery failure or communication problem.

“That's why we do these tests, so we can make sure we are able to warn our community,” Hurley said.

Last summer, WEAU uncovered battery failures caused the siren at North High to be silent during two big storms.

Follow-up reports revealed lightning strikes fried sirens at Memorial High School and in the Shawtown neighborhood.

The county said those warning devices were all repaired.

“They're mechanical things and mechanical things are prone to failure,” Hurley said.

Siren tests are done in Eau Claire County the first Monday of the month at 11 a.m. all the way up until October.

“We urge people to get a NOAA weather radio for those type of events for indoor notifications,” Hurley said.

Sirens will be ringing again in Eau Claire on April 18th at 1:45 p.m. for the National Weather Service’s severe weather drill.

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