Some Bay Co. residents not silent about siren silence
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
Some may consider the testing of an emergency siren loud and obnoxious, but when there's a severe weather threat, those warnings can help save lives.
"It gives me a sense of protection so I know what I need to do in case there is a warning, where I need to go," said Ranae Hitz, who lives in Williams Township.
Hitz lives not too far from one of the six new emergency sirens installed in Bay County. One is installed near Bay City Western High School, and it went online with the others earlier this month. The six new sirens join nine others already in place.
"(It's) extra reassurance for us," said Hitz.
Bay County Emergency Manager Ryan Manz tells TV5 60-70 percent of the county's population will now hear the emergency siren when it goes off, but that leaves 30 percent who will hear nothing. Some of those residents live in Beaver Township, and a few years ago, a tornado ripped through the township. Residents had no warning then, either.
"If we had warning sirens or something, we'd be a lot safer," said Dan Skrzypczak, a Beaver Township resident.
Skrzypczak was just a quarter-of-a-mile away from the tornado that ripped through Beaver Township almost two years ago. It left quite a mess behind. He said he's disappointed there still won't be the safety blare. That's because the new sirens were installed in the higher-populated areas.
"A lot of people here, they got lucky, you know. Next time, they might not be so lucky, you know," said Skrzypczak.
Hitz said while she's happy she hears the new siren near her home, she worries about her grandparents, who live less than a mile away from where the tornado struck two years ago.
"It would be nice for them to be able to hear a siren, because they're not around social media, they're not around the news, they're not around the radio when they're outside, so it's a safety hazard for them," said Hitz.
Manz said the cost for a new siren is about $20,000. He hopes the county can afford to place additional sirens in the less-populated areas in the future.
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