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ROGERS, AR— Public safety officials have been testing and evaluating the outdoor weather siren system in the city, after discovering an issue during a severe weather event on Tuesday, April 30th. There are 20 Storm Sirens spread out across the city that can be activated during severe weather from the Rogers Police Department. On Tuesday, April 30th, a malfunction was discovered when trying to deploy the system. It was discovered that parts of the system were disrupted during RPD’s recent radio system upgrade. RPD contacted the service provider on Tuesday afternoon and they began working on the issue immediately. Normally these issues would have been discovered during monthly testing, which was scheduled for Wednesday, May 1st. After making repairs and testing the system on Wednesday, May 1st and Tuesday, May 7th, it has been determined that the system is currently operating at approximately 50 percent, with multiple sirens not functioning.
Outdoor storm sirens are an obsolete technology, developed before the era of smartphones, and are not intended to be heard inside of homes to alert people of severe weather. Our current outdoor storm siren system was installed more than 20 years ago and many components of the system are no longer being manufactured. Rogers is one of the few cities that still offers outdoor storm sirens in Northwest Arkansas and as the system ages, city officials will evaluate the expense associated with replacement versus investing those resources on more reliable, modern technology.
Currently, the city is also enrolled in the IPAWS system (Integrated Public Alert & Warning System) for an emergency warning system. The IPAWS system sends out automatic alerts to all smartphones in an affected area when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues a severe weather alert. The IPAWS system also allows the City to ping all smartphone users in a specified location to push out alerts for city specific emergencies. This system is highly efficient and is much more effective at alerting citizens than the archaic outdoor siren. As we continue to repair and evaluate the future of our outdoor storm siren system, we urge citizens to use multiple forms of notification when severe weather is in our area. In addition, the city will also post on our social media accounts when the outdoor storm sirens have been activated.