A look at our outdoor alert sirens

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Tornado season is a long way away, but Bismarck's outdoor alert sirens are maintained year round.

A handful of staff members at the Public Works Department make sure our warning system always work right and remain operational at all times.

Matthew Koch is one of Bismarck's traffic signal technicians. His day to day job is making sure our streets stay lit and traffic runs properly. He's also one of the workers that checks on the outdoor alert sirens to insure they are all working like they should.

"Well, in the event of a tornado, you kind of want a little bit of a warning," said Koch.

Something as simple as a nesting bird can mess with the sirens, sometimes the signal to start doesn't get through to certain sirens.

"We've had a couple get struck by lightning. The one right out here, north of our building, got struck by lightning last summer and that pretty much took care of everything. It traveled down the ground wire and blew the panel out, and the meter socket, so it all had to be replaced," said Koch.

Every year, Public Works takes apart half of the sirens to replace parts and check on the inner workings.