TYLER (KYTX) - When severe weather strikes, Tyler police sound off emergency sirens throughout the city to alert us and keep us safe. But, neighbors at the corner of Paluxy and New Copeland say they don't feel safe because the siren closest to them hasn't been working for months.
Someone actually crashed into it late at night and broke it. We'll, neighbors say that was a while ago, and they're ready for a replacement siren now.
The City of Tyler's chief information officer for the information technology department says a date has finally been set to have the siren operational again. Neighbors say it's about time.
"Severe weather. East Texas is prime to it. Severe weather can hit any time, any day."
Charles Norrell says he's worried the next time that day comes, he won't be prepared. That's because the emergency siren by his house is now just a bare pole.
"That's my main worry is severe weather coming into Tyler, coming into Smith County- having a tornado touch down and kill or hurt many people who can use the siren now."
He says he's complained to the city for months, but it's still not fixed. Chief information officer Benny Yazdanpanahi says that will all change soon.
"The good news is they have it all ready and coordinated on July 24th. And, they'll be on site to install it and make it working on that day."
He says the reason it's taken so long is because he's been at the mercy of manufacturers.
"This siren has been damaged by one of our citizens. And, we have been working with our manufacturer that makes the sirens, and the pole maker and the installer. So, we have to bring all of them together, but the poles have to be made per order."
Norrell says July 24th sounds promising, but he's not holding his breath.
"When I actually see that back up on the pole, then that's when i will feel safe and my neighbors will feel safer that it's there, it's reliable, it's getting put to good use, instead of an empty pole."
Yazdanpanahi says people should not rely solely on the sirens though.
"I think everybody needs to sign up."
He suggests getting on board with the City of Tyler's cell phone and email alert system, Code Red. That way, when severe weather strikes, you'll be notified no matter where you are.
Yazdanpanahi says another reason it's taken so long to fix the siren is because it's supposed to be built much sturdier with different parts this time. The pole will be concrete instead of wood, like it is now. That way, it's less likely to break if someone crashes into it again.
It's expected to cost about $55,000. That money is coming from the city budget as well as the insurance money collected from the crash.
Tyler has 32 emergency sirens located throughout the city. Longview has 20.