A month ago, the main circuit that connects to a Houston County Emergency siren was fried by lightning. It fixed just in time for hurricane season.
Folks passing by the siren on north Oates, next to the Houston-Love Memorial Library, probably didn't notice anything wrong.
The siren isn't even a year old. However, after the motherboard was zapped, officials are concerned it could happen to other sirens around the county.
A strong wind and a bad storm sent this siren's haywire. Lightning struck its pole, then its control panel, melting the motherboard and frying its amplifiers and speakers.
75 percent of the siren was destroyed.
Houston Co. EMA, Clark Matthews said “This problem popped up on a daily test to make sure its up and running.”
When a siren has technical issues, it’s very rare that the mother board will go out. Officials say that's why it took so long for the parts to get here.
There are 22 sirens owned by the city of Dothan and Houston County. Three additional sirens are used by the county but owned by Farley nuclear plant.
However with hurricane season beginning in June and with possible threats of tornados, the concern now may be whether this can happen to the county's other sirens.
“If it takes a direct hit, there's nothing that can be done,” said Matthews
The sirens are tested weekly. A full scale test is done monthly, and maintenance takes place every six months.
Officials say the siren in Madrid was also struck by lighting, but the effects weren't as serious.
That's why they say this situation took them by surprise. The siren was fixed by Dothan Utilities.
The county's EMA, has just received a grant to place seven additional sirens around the county. They are not sure when those sirens will go up, or where they'll put them.
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