JOPLIN, Mo. —
Joplin’s storm-siren system is being upgraded.
Two new sirens have been installed, and two more are to be replaced, according to Keith Stammer, Joplin/Jasper County emergency management director.
One of the sirens that is being replaced is on the roof of Billingsly Student Center at Missouri Southern State University. It will be replaced with a siren that is to be erected on a pole at the southeast corner of Newman and Duquesne roads to increase the siren’s coverage, especially to the east, Stammer said.
The other siren to be replaced is an existing siren in the Joplin-Webb City Industrial Park. It is located east of the Braum’s restaurant, 3501 N. Range Line Road. Stammer said the existing siren is not equipped for battery backup and will be replaced with one that does have battery backup.
Two new sirens have been put in, one east of the ball field in Wildcat Park and the other at McClelland Park. “That helps us with coverage of the new Mercy hospital, the running trails and people who like to be in the parks,” Stammer said.
Mercy Hospital Joplin is being built near Interstate 44 and Hearnes Boulevard, after St. John’s Regional Medical Center was destroyed in the May 22 tornado.
The city is spending about $200,000 to make the changes and update existing sirens. It is part of an effort to improve storm warning capabilities after some residents said they did not immediately take cover last year when the sirens first went off to warn of the storm that produced the EF-5 tornado that destroyed nearly a third of the city.
It likely will be late June or later before work on all of Joplin’s storm sirens is finished, Stammer said.
THE CITY OF JOPLIN this year has cut back on siren testing because a National Weather Service assessment concluded that residents were desensitized to siren warnings. Now, sirens are being tested every other week instead of every week. Tests are not done when Joplin is experiencing thunderstorms.