‘Unreliable’: Mayor, residents say sirens in Nickerson fail to consistently work properly

Local

NICKERSON, Kan. (KSNW) – In the heart of tornado alley and in the middle of the spring severe weather season, the city of Nickerson is having issues with its sirens.

“I just think it is a safety concern,” Shauna Karpe.

The tornado alert system in Nickerson isn’t make much noise in popularity.

“Even the last tornado we had about a year ago, I think south of town, the sirens did not sound then,” says Mayor Peggy Ruebke. “That is when it hit me that we had some major issues.”

Ruebke has been mayor since January. As head of the city, she faces a tall order when it comes to making the sirens and the system reliable.

“The county volunteer fire department sets it off inside our town, and they have had some problems and malfunctions,” Ruebke adds.

She says the city plans to address the issue in May at a council meeting.

“We have been given a multitude of different costs because it is not just the system. It is the sirens that are outdated. How that will affect when we are plugged into a new system? We have gotten several different ideas and thoughts of how to upgrade that system,” Ruebke explains.

Ruebke tells KSN one of the sirens may not have a backup part. When it comes to the options of replacing or fixing the sirens and system, it will likely cost thousands of dollars. Mayor Ruebke adds that the city does not have a timeline on exactly when the sirens will be fixed or upgraded.

“It needs to be addressed. We need to take care of the citizens,” she says.

Reno County Emergency Management suggests a service for residents it’s paid for called Everbridge. It provides tornado and weather alerts. You can sign up using email, landline, or cell phone. The county also suggests using the National Weather Service or buying a weather radio.

“It is a concern for me because sometimes my stepson is here, and I am not. He does not have a cell phone,” Karpe adds.

You can also download the StormTrack3 Weather App for free. The app provides alerts in your area.

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