DYSART, Iowa — Several communities in Eastern Iowa are still dealing with broken and outdated outdoor warning sirens, after several rounds of severe weather swept through recently. One of those is in Dysart.
“It probably dates back to 1945 — World War II stuff — into the Cold War,” said Dysart fire chief Alan Bredehoeft. He told us the city's outdoor warning siren was installed back when the bomb was a bigger concern than the weather.
The old siren gets the job done, but when Dysart loses power, it does too.
“We had one here about a week and a half ago, where we lost electrical due to the tornado over near Traer, and we could not blow the sirens,” said Bredehoeft. “That particular day, we drove our fire trucks through the streets with our sirens going.”
Bredehoeft said this week, the city council will discuss installing a new siren system, at an estimated cost of more than $20,000. He said it will have remote-start capabilities, and a battery backup. It won't be cheap, but many residents here say it's necessary. We spoke with longtime resident and president of the Dysart Development Corporation, Dwayne Luze.
“One of our mission statements with the Dysart Development Corporation is to create a safe quality of life for all ages, and that system would definitely fill that,” Luze told us.
The neighboring city of Garrison has yet to determine the cost to repair its outdoor warning siren, recently knocked out by lightning. Fire Chief Steve Meyer said it cost around $25,000 when it was installed three years ago. A FEMA grant paid for three-quarters of that.
“We can set it off manually from the fire station. And as we speak right now, there is somebody up there working on it,” Meyer told us when we spoke with him Tuesday.
There was still some work to be done to fully restore the system, making it possible for Benton County dispatch to activate it via radio.