Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger (left) and Administrator Jamie Hall worked together in researching village options.
Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger (left) and Administrator Jamie Hall worked together in researching village options. (Ada Herald/Joe Schriner)

ADA — There were 24 people killed in the Tennessee tornadoes last week.

That was quantifiable.

What wasn’t quantifiable was how many lives were saved because of early warning sirens, cell phone alerts, and radio and tv warnings.

In an attempt to close the severe weather early warning gap here, Ada Village Council recently okayed the purchase of a new, high-tech siren.

Ada Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger and Village Administrator Jamie Hall collaborated on doing research for the purchase.

The chief, in a follow up interview, explained that the town used to have what he referred to as an “antiquated siren” (manufactured in 1923), but it has been out of commission for years. In fact, it’s on display as historic memorabilia at The Depot now.

What’s more, the village’s only early warning siren is currently at ONU.

Chief Harnishfeger said the new siren will be at the village’s Street Barn/Water Tower area, and will be mounted atop a 50-foot pole. It’s considered a “high-power, directional rotating siren.” The siren sound is 70-decibels, reaching to the outskirts of the village.

The cost for the system: $25,786. And to the chief, the cost is well worth it.

“It’s important to do everything we can to keep the village safe,” he said.

The chief also explained that the siren, for the most part, will be activated remotely by the National Weather Service.

He said in the old days, a police dispatcher would be apprised of approaching severe weather and they would activate the siren. But the Ada Police Department, said the chief, doesn’t do dispatch anymore. (Although, if need be, the siren could be activated locally.)

However, the chief said with modern satellites, computer technology, and such, relying on the National Weather Service is quite advisable, and should be quite seamless.

The chief added that the Ada siren should be up and ready for activation within six to eight weeks. Incidentally, the siren will be programmed to blare for three minutes in the event of a tornado warning.