SHELBY, Ohio — Questions are being raised about Shelby’s warning sirens after a tornado swept through the Richland County city Sunday afternoon.
“I have been overwhelmed with calls, coordination and messages for hours,” Shelby Police Chief Lance Combs posted on Facebook late Sunday night. “It is my understanding that there have been some discussions regarding the tornado sirens and their activation. If there are problems, they fall on my shoulders.”
He said the police department is responsible for activating those sirens in Shelby, and they are typically sounded when there are warnings for northern Richland County.
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“The alert we received today was general to Richland County and that is when we typically activate the sirens,” he wrote. “Within a very short time, the department received a report of an active tornado near or on SR39 and the working supervisor activated the sirens. That did occur before the tornado caused the damage across 39.”
Multiple homes and businesses were damaged, with Chief Combs saying it's a miracle that only 5-10 people suffered minor injuries.
“If the sirens were not activated soon enough, I take the blame," Chief Combs continued. "What we have tried to do is monthly testing with notification and been judicious in their use to avoid people ignoring the sirens when there is an immediate threat. We will be reviewing that procedure and examinig whether we need to make additional adjustments."