Solving the mystery of the early morning sirens
About a week ago some Merrill residents were wakened abruptly by the blasting of City warning sirens. Here’s the scoop from Merrill Police Chief Corey Bennett: “Last night the old east (County garage) and west (former West Side FD) sirens activated without any input from our siren controls,” he said. “Officers on duty attempted to deactivate them at our controls but ultimately had to make entry to facilities and manually shut off the power to the sirens.”
“Once those systems were shut down, some measurements were taken of the phone lines used to trigger them,” Bennett said. “It was discovered that for an unknown reason, a triggering voltage was applied to those lines from an unknown outside source. Those voltages have increased as of the time of this post and are confirmed by our electrician. This is not the first time phone lines have caused a malfunction in the system with these sirens. Usually it is an outage vs. an activation.”
“We have newer sirens on both the east and west sides which are triggered differently, triggered securely,” he said. “We kept the old sirens online for redundancy in an actual emergency because more is better when it counts. However, because reliability is now in question, I am taking both of the old sirens offline indefinitely. If we are able to return them to service with a secure, closed control system, we will explore that cost/benefit through normal government business.”
“In the meantime, our citizens need and deserve their rest,” Bennett said.