EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – If you live in Eau Claire you probably didn’t need your alarm clock to wake up Monday morning.
The emergency sirens went off for a severe thunderstorm warning.
The sirens are there to let you know when trouble’s brewing.
So when one or more don’t go off, it could mean a dangerous situation.
A concerned family emailed WEAU 13 News about one siren in Eau Claire malfunctioning and they said it’s not the first time.
Lynn Culver said she’s lived across the street from North High School for over a decade.
The local mom and daycare operator said she’s always counted on the emergency siren there to warn her and her family of dangerous weather.
But on May 24 as a powerful windstorm slammed Eau Claire, the siren was silent.
“I’d seen it coming and I already had my daycare kids downstairs but I couldn't hear it here,” Culver said.
Flash forward to Monday morning when another big storm made its way through town.
And this time still no siren.
“It was the thunder that woke me up,” Culver said.
Other residents in the north side neighborhood also reported not hearing the warnings the past two storms.
“It wasn't a single failure, but two or three failures that occurred in a row,” said Tom Hurley, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Eau Claire County.
Hurley said batteries were replaced after the May 24 failure and the siren passed its monthly test in early June.
He said it’s believed the batteries failed again on Monday, causing the siren not to go off.
“One repair was made. It was thought to be fixed by the vender, but there were numerous shortcomings in that particular unit,” Hurley said.
WEAU was there Monday as repair crews tried to figure out what was going wrong.
The problem was a faulty battery charger, which Hurley said has since been fixed.
“That is reason it be concerned. But I also feel confident in the manufacturer’s repairs,” Hurley said.
The Culver Family said they contacted emergency management about both malfunctions but never heard back.
“I’m unaware. I had no voicemails or missed calls this morning so that surprises me,” Hurley said.
The city has 19 sirens, but Hurley said none of them are there to warn residents while they are in their homes.
“They're not designed or intended to warn people indoors. Alert people of impending danger and have them to seek more information,” Hurley said.
He said a weather radio makes for a better indoor warning system.
Culver said she wishes action could have been taken sooner, especially considering the kids who are in her care.
“If I have 5-6 kids to get in an area and some of them are in here and some of them are in another room, I have to have time to round them up,” Culver said.
Hurley said crews are now checking all batteries in warning sirens in Eau Claire to make sure they’re working properly.
If you think a siren near you isn’t working, Hurley said you should call your local police or department.