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Outagamie County siren project may get done soon

APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Due to the fallout from the response earlier this month to tornadoes, Outagamie County's public safety committee is recommending a project to improve their siren system be fast-tracked.

On Tuesday, the committee votes to move up a plan to build a back-up repeater tower for the county's tornado sirens. Originally planned for 2014, it now could be done in October.

Currently, there is only one repeater which sends the emergency signal to all tornado sirens in the county.

"Whether it was taken down in a wind storm or whatever, that, automatically, we would be able to sound the sirens through that back up repeater," Outagamie County Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz told FOX 11. 

During the August 7th storms Loeffelholz did not turn on the sirens. She has said that's because the National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning for the county.

However, Loeffelholz also said she could not have sounded the sirens anyway. The sole repeater lost power and the backup generator was not connected to its fuel line.

Loeffelholz told FOX 11 she's wanted to see a back up repeater installed since she took on this job at the beginning of the year. 

Officials with Emergency Management has a site in mind for the repeater. It would go near the solid waste facility off of Highway 441, but that will still need to be tested.

"And ensure that all the sirens can be reached by this back up repeater," explained Loeffelholz. 

The full county board will have the final say whether the project is moved up.  The board is expected to vote on the measure at its meeting in two weeks.