Friday, December 13, 2002

Dayton urged to keep sirens

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - Ohio's emergency management director says Dayton should not junk its tornado sirens as a city official has suggested.

Dale Shipley, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, said other cities have learned through tragedy how important warning sirens are.

Mr. Shipley grew up in Xenia in the years before a tornado killed 33 people there in 1974.

"Before April 1974, Xenia could not afford a warning system," Mr. Shipley said. "They didn't have any sirens. After April 1974, they could afford it because their priorities changed."

Bill Hill, Dayton's director of information technology, has said the city's half-century-old siren system is outdated and would be too costly to fix or replace.

Instead of sirens, the city is considering installing weather radios in public buildings and encouraging citizens to buy them for their homes.

Mr. Shipley said news coverage of Dayton's debate over whether to save its sirens prompted him to speak out. He said the city could receive state and federal assistance for sirens.

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