Johnson County tornado sirens test successfully after failing Tuesday — here’s county’s explanation

Johnson County tornado sirens

Johnson County successfully tested the tornado sirens on March 3 after a failed attempt during the statewide drill on March 2, caused by issues from the county's primary repeater, according to a press release. Photo credit: Al. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Tornado sirens in Johnson County successfully sounded off at 11 a.m. on Wednesday after a failed test during the statewide drill Tuesday, March 2.

After failing to work Tuesday, Johnson County Department of Emergency Management & Communications announced via Twitter that outdoor warning sirens would be retested on March 3.

JCDEM said the sirens would not activate during the statewide drill Tuesday despite attempts to activate them from three separate locations, according to a press release.

After working with the sirens’ vendor, JCDEM was able to identify the problem: the primary repeater was not working. A repeater receives commands and broadcasts them across a large area, similar to a radio communications node, said Trent Pittman, JCDEM’s assistant director of community preparedness.

The primary repeater failed due to a faulty DTMF board, which Pittman said is a circuit-type board, but a new one brought the repeater back online. A back-up repeater was used for the successful test Wednesday. .

It wasn’t the only snag experienced around the metro during Tuesday’s test of the emergency alert system. The National Weather Service in Kansas City confirmed it mistakenly sent out a mass text alert for a Tornado Warning. Residents and Kansas and Missouri received the alert, which was not marked as a test.

“Somewhere above us in the Wireless Emergency Alert chain it was misinterpreted and disseminated as an actual warning. Our headquarters is investigating a cause. To my knowledge this impacted all offices in Kansas and Missouri participating in the test [Tuesday,” a National Weather Service spokesperson told Fox 4 TV.

This story has been updated with JCDEM comments to further explain the failure of the county’s tornado sirens on Tuesday.