HOWLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – When the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning like they did on Sunday, tornado sirens are supposed to sound to warn residents to seek shelter immediately.
But that wasn’t the case in parts of Howland, Warren and several other communities in Trumbull County over the weekend, when those sirens remained silent.
33 WYTV News anchor Lindsey Watson was the only reporter who went out and talked to officials to investigate the issue.
Safety officials quickly jumped into action to figure out what went wrong at the worst possible time, when lives were in danger.
“The reason for that is what we’re trying to drill down on,” said Trumbull County 911 Director Ernie Cook.
The county alone has 90 tornado sirens that are divided amongst the Emergency Management Agency, 911 center and local communities.
Cook says emergency officials are looking at every possible cause.
“Possibly radio frequencies, we’re looking at maybe high winds that shifted the microwave dishes and it was kind of odd because some of them worked on that same sequence and some of them, like Howland, didn’t,” Cook said.
Howland Township is responsible for nine of those sirens, most are mounted by schools and fire stations.
They knew four were being repaired, but the other five had just passed their monthly inspection on June 1.
“Their primary reason is to warn members or people that are outside — not in enclosed shelters — to get inside,” said Howland Twp. Fire Chief James Pantalone.
Pantalone has been very vocal about the issue, even taking to Facebook to reassure residents that the issue will be taken care of.
Less than 24 hours after the storm, Pantalone sat down with Cook and other local leaders to find a solution.
“We’ve done some brainstorming, we have some ideas. We’re actually looking to do an actual, physical test possibly this Friday,” Pantalone said.
“Whether it’s on their end, our end, maybe nobody’s end, maybe it was an anomaly, but we’ll find out the answers,” Cook said.
Emergency officials say the only way those tests won’t be done on Friday is if there is even the slightest risk for severe weather, so they don’t cause panic.