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Enid adding battery-powered tornado sirens

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ENID, Okla. -- In the last seven years, Enid has more than doubled their number of storm sirens to 33.

They're now adding six more, two of which will not be at the mercy of a power outage.

For some, storm sirens are their only tornado warning.

But what if lightning knocks out their power before a twister arrives, as we saw last month in Woodward?
"That's our worst fear," Mike Honigsberg said, the Emergency Management Director for Enid and Garfield County. "Lightning is not our friend."

To avoid that scenario, the city has purchased two new sirens that will have a battery backup.

"Knowing we can fire them, even without power, I think it will help dramatically," Honigsberg said. "Plus we'll be able to do general announcements over the network throughout the whole city."

That's because the new sirens will have public address systems as well, which will be placed near the city's ballparks, a popular hangout in the spring and summer.

Honigsberg said each siren costs about $18,000, which will come out of the city's emergency management budget.

But Enid is also expanding their warning system at virtually no cost, by refurbishing four previously-used sirens from other cities.

These will be up and running within a couple of weeks to give more people more time to take shelter.

"It's a no-brainer is what it is," Honigsberg said. "We've got to do this to protect our public."

He urges the public to not rely solely on those sirens as tornado warnings and recommends monitoring phone alerts, weather radios and TV broadcasts.