Lightning Causes Runaway Siren In Sand Springs

Monday, May 11th 2015, 5:46 pm
By: News On 6

Lightning may be to blame for a malfunctioning storm siren in Sand Springs. The siren caused confusion this weekend when the alarm went off without any real threat.

The siren caused confusion this weekend when the alarm went off without any real threat present. In light of some communities still recovering from the storms that hit the area, the siren going off did get people's attention.

In one Sand Springs neighborhood near West 56th Street and 129th West Avenue, just above the tree line sits an omnidirectional warning siren.

Rocky Rogers can see the siren from his front porch and heard it sound off late Saturday.

"Well when we initially heard it, I thought the alarm system in our home had gone off and so I asked my wife, and she said 'no it's the storm alarms,'" Rogers said.

The sound was the high low flood warning siren. While it was a bit damp, the forecast showed no signs of severe rain moving into the area.

"Nothing had been set off manually, so at that time I knew we had a runaway siren," Greg Fisher said.

Greg Fisher is the Sand Springs Emergency Manager. He says the siren can be heard from all directions for up to two miles away. He says the city switched to the remote system about 14 years ago. This is the first time a siren has malfunctioned since the switch.

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"What happened to this siren - it probably over the last couple of days was struck by lightning, and we call them a keypad - it's a membrane keypad, and they are very sensitive to static," Fisher said.

He says this onmindirection siren is the only one in the city, and can be set off remotely or on site by using a keypad connected to the siren. It took about an hour from the time the first reports of the siren were called in until the siren was shut off.

Fisher says there was nothing to fear, but he's happy people called to check. Rogers says, hearing the alarm can be frightening if you aren't prepared.

"I'm sure it is for some folks," said Sand Springs resident Rocky Rogers. "I didn't have that fear - my family didn't. We typically know what to do in a emergency."

An estimated 10 to 15 people called police about the runaway siren.

The siren was deactivated the rest of the night. The damaged part was replaced, and the siren was back on by 3 p.m. Sunday. The emergency manager says everything is back in order.