APPLETON - Outagamie County's public safety committee has recommended moving up a project to improve the county's tornado siren system. That's in response to the August 7th storms.
Tuesday night, Outagamie County's public safety committee voted to fast track a plan to build a back up repeater tower for the county's tornado sirens. It's a project originally planned for 2014. Now it could be done in October.
Right now there is only one repeater which sends the emergency signal to all tornado sirens in the county.
"Whether it was taken down in a wind storm or whatever, that, automatically, we would be able to sound the sirens through that back up repeater," explained Outagamie County Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz.
During the August 7th storms Loeffelholz did not turn on the sirens. She has said that's because the National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning for the county.
However, Loeffelholz also said she could not have sounded the sirens anyway. The sole repeater lost power and the backup generator was not connected to its fuel line.
Loeffelholz told FOX 11 she's wanted to see a back up repeater installed since she took on this job at the beginning of the year.
"Im very excited that they have decided to fast-track this back up repeater system," she said.
Emergency management has a site in mind for the repeater near the solid waste facility off of Highway 441, but that will still need to be tested.
"And ensure that all the sirens can be reached by this back up repeater," explained Loeffelholz.
If pushed ahead work will be completed over the first two weeks in October, when there is a lower threat of severe weather. However, Loeffelholz told us the sirens will be down during that time, so the schedule will need to be flexible.
"We will take a look at the expected weather and ensure that, if it's not appropriate to take the sirens offline that we will not," she explained.
The full county board will have the final say whether the project is moved up. The board is expected to vote on the measure at its meeting in two weeks.
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