Technological advancements and new data on effectiveness and costs of maintenance of tornado sirens has prompted the city of Sturgeon Bay to get rid of theirs. According to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of maintaining the city’s six sirens has been carefully evaluated. Fire Department Chief Tim Dietman credits the growing technology landscape for allowing this procedure.
As technology continues to advance, Dietman says that more municipalities are starting to move away from sirens. The sirens were erected in 1997 and have a lifespan of twenty-five years. Dietman voiced concern with their age.
The estimated cost of replacing them in 2022 is $25,000 each. Annual maintenance costs of the sirens is $3,000-$4,000 per year. In a release from the Fire Department, they stated that the purpose of the sirens was to alert people outside to move to a safe indoor location. The release added that they were never intended to be heard indoors or wake people from sleeping, and evidence suggests that tornado sirens can actually add to confusion during an emergency weather situation. Dietman also shared optimism about the opportunity to free up resources to support the city in other ways by eliminating obsolete equipment. The sirens will be removed in the Spring of 2021.