Shelby police chief and mayor defend use of city’s tornado sirens

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SHELBY, Ohio– The chief of police and the mayor discussed the effectiveness of Shelby’s tornado sirens following Sunday’s storm.

An EF-2 tornado touched down in the Richland County city Sunday afternoon. During its 17-mile path, it damaged dozens of buildings. Six people were injured.

Police Chief Lance Combs said the sirens, which are in four locations, are older and require maintenance. That’s why they are tested every month to make sure functions, like rotating, work properly, he said.

The Shelby Police Department handles the tornado sirens. They are not intended to be heard inside homes, according to Combs.

The chief said he received notification of the tornado warnings in Crawford and Richland counties, but waited to sound the sirens in case the storm was 50 miles away.

“We don’t want to overuse those sirens,” Combs said. He said they were activated when he learned of the reported funnel cloud.

Mayor Steven Schag said the city uses the sirens judiciously so residents take them seriously.

“The alarms, the sirens are designed to take cover and that’s what we did. There’s always the temptation to peek out the window or go to the front porch. But, in my view, the sirens worked and they worked effectively,” Schag said.

Combs said they plan to review the city’s policy.

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