Parents Worry Tornado Siren Removal Puts Bartlesville Students In Jeopardy

Friday, January 16th 2015, 6:22 pm
By: News On 6

The removal of a tornado siren near a school in Bartlesville has parents worried their kids won't have enough time to take shelter if a tornado hits.

City leaders said there are three other sirens that cover the area, but some parents said it's not enough.

The city said Tornado Siren Number 28 is outdated and serves no use, but parents at Wayside elementary school fear it will put their kids at risk if it's removed.

The yellow tornado siren outside Wayside Elementary alerted the school about possible tornadoes for over 30 years.

"It just keeps failing and failing and it's just come to the point where it's time to take it out," said Public Works Director, Keith Henry.

Henry showed us a map of the 37 sirens in the city and their coverage area. It shows three sirens can be heard outside Wayside Elementary, not including siren 28.

"You can't hear those inside the building, the only one that is audible in the building is the one scheduled to be removed," said parent, Hilary Kamplain.

Henry said, "They are outdoor warning systems, strictly to be heard outdoor."

The city tested the closest siren, just a few blocks away, while we were there.

"Keep in mind this is one siren, there will be three other sirens the same volume, close to it, that will cover this area," Henry said.

But for Kamplain, it's not enough.

"I don't care how loud the other ones are, this is the one I care about,” she said.

A siren so close to the school gave Kamplain a better sense of security. The district said they stand behind the city's decision and have other safety measures in place.

"At our central office anytime there is any questionable weather, we've always got our eye on it. Our administrators are equipped with iPads. So even if they are in a meeting we can have that radar, that information right in front of us," said Community Relations coordinator, Chris Tanea.

Kamplain said, "I feel like that is a little bit short sighted. There are three administrators in the building and 720 staff and children. So if three people have to be over a weather radio at any given time, I feel like that is foolhardy."

The city isn't sure when the siren could be removed, but parents still hope they will find a way to keep it.

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