Storm siren malfunctions during Garden City tornado warning

Tornado siren (KSN File Photo)

GARDEN CITY, Kansas– When a storm came through Garden City on June 3rd and reports of a tornado came in, Finney County dispatch signaled the 23 sirens throughout town.  The storm passed over Garden City without causing any damage, but one siren malfunctioned, and continued to sound.

“It kept blaring, going on and off, on and off and I was like well, where’s the tornado?,” Shon Telfair lives down the street from the siren and wasn’t sure why it was still going off as the storm moved farther away.

“A relay that operates the siren got stuck after it was operated, so it just didn’t get the signal to shut off,” said Garden City Public Works Superintendent Cliff Sonnenberg. “So, it continued to blow until we came over and shut it off.”

“It’s a typical piece of manmade equipment, it’s going to malfunction at some point,” said Finney County Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Paz-Torres.  He said the problem is no cause for concern, “the city was quick to get it working and back online.”

The city is confident in their emergency alert system, but they say people shouldn’t just rely on one type of warning.  “We would encourage folks to get a weather radio, and not rely solely on the sirens.  Duplicative effort’s always good when it comes to warning,” Paz-Torres said.  Plus, a siren is only good if you’re outside to hear it.

While residents weren’t exactly sure what to do when the siren kept sounding, Telfair said he’s happy to know it’s fixed, and luckily the malfunction only led to some minor confusion.

“For the most part the sirens were just going off and you saw people clearing out of here and stuff, but no harm no foul,” he said with a smile.

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