Frederick explains why sirens didn't go off - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Frederick explains why sirens didn't go off

FREDERICK, Okla._Throughout the week, powerful storms have roared through Tillman County, leaving many residents in Frederick wondering why the city's tornado sirens were never sounded.

City officials say while only six of the city's twelve sirens are in working order, with the others damaged in recent storms, the reason for silence is simple. None of the recent storms met the requirements needed to sound the sirens. In order for them to alert the community, storms must produce 58 mph winds for three consecutive minutes or if a tornado is on the ground and headed their way.

"It's scary for me because I have three children and I need to know. I like to know if something's coming at me. Because for my babies for one," said Dayla McKinney.

McKinney and her friend, Randy Young, are concerned for their safety and everyone else in Frederick. Young says a close call this weekend is what made him realize the sirens may not be doing their job.

"I was in my backyard digging a ditch and the neighbor said ‘there's a tornado coming this way, you go take shelter,' but there still wasn't any sirens going off," said Young.

Tillman County Emergency Manager Randy Hasley says while he understands their concerns, he argues there hasn't been a reason to sound the sirens yet.

"We're watching. We don't want to blow it just to be blowing. If we've got something coming, we'll certainly do that, but none of the storms have met our criteria to," explained Hasley.

Frederick City Manager Robert Johnston says he also understands the concerns as recent severe storms have come close, and with the unpredictable nature of tornadoes, perhaps too close for comfort.

"The storms don't always go in a straight line, they curve around they give you things you aren't really expecting, so I get it. It makes sense to me that people would be interested and wondering about sirens," said Johnston.

City officials advise citizens to stay weather aware by checking the news or their smartphones, and if they begin to feel uncomfortable to go ahead and take shelter and not wait for sirens to sound.

As an Oklahoma native, Johnston has seen his fair share of storms, but still understands the severity of the matter and is working to make the necessary changes.

"Some of us that grew up down in this part of the country may be desensitized, some of us may be hyper-sensitized to what a threat of a tornado watch or warning means, but we're taking it seriously and looking to improve," said Johnston.

Johnston says the city is working to replace the damaged sirens, and hope to eventually develop a weather alert system for cell phones. He also would like to remind citizens that there are no public storm shelters in Frederick.

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