Town's single tornado siren failed to sound, officials say

April 28, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

ANDOVER, Kan. -- Andover's single siren failed as Friday's tornado marched toward the city, officials said last night.

"We activated it four times, and I am told it did not work," Andover Mayor Jack Finlason said.

He emphasized, however, that the city had a "long-standing tradition" of using other warnings -- including having emergency personnel drive through the city blaring warnings over loudspeakers -- to alert people 20 to 30 minutes in advance, which he said should have been plenty of time for people to take cover.

"The system is lousy," resident Jo Schreiber complained. "There were no warnings, no sirens."

"A lot of people are upset," Holly Nelson said. "People lost their lives over this. There were no warnings."

Many residents in the path of the tornado say they heard neither the tornado siren nor the sirens of police and fire vehicles driving through the city. Those who did hear the police and fire sirens said they had only a few minutes to act.

Mayor Finlason said that he did not know why the siren did not work, adding that it is tested every month and that it worked the last time it was tested.

Towns are not required by federal or state law to have warning sirens, said Joy Mosher, a spokeswoman for the Kansas adjutant general's office.

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