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Sharpsville town residents want stop to daily storm siren tests, survey shows

SHARPSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The town of Sharpsville has been testing its storm warning siren every day for as long as most people can remember.

Daily at noon, the siren of Sharpsville comes alive, crushing quiet town with its din.  

Rodney Hopper lives just a couple houses away from the siren. Wednesday’s test read over 100 decibels on his decibel-reading device, similar to the sound of a jet taking off from about 1,000 feet away.

“So depending on who you ask in the town, the thought process is, it could let the farmers know in the field it was noon and time to come in for chow,” said Hopper.

One of Hopper’s neighbors prepared a 63-page document on why the town council should stop the daily siren testing. The author of the document asked News 8 not to use their name in this story, but according to this document, more than 70% of the town is opposed to the daily disruption.  

The document also claims that the activation of the noon siren does not fall within federal and state siren guidelines. Medical guidelines suggest sounds above 85 decibels can damage your hearing. 

The daily siren tests can also lead to complacency. People tend to ignore warning sirens that frequently occur. And testing the siren every day leads to an increase in maintenance costs. When the document was presented to the town council, it was not well received. 

“They mocked him and they laughed at him and they asked if anybody else thought it was causing hearing loss, and then they quickly dismissed him,” said Hopper. 

Robert Kincaid has lived in Sharpsville his entire life. He isn’t bothered by the noise. He said the siren was used to alert the volunteer firemen. Now it’s only used for severe weather and tornado warnings.

“I can’t say a tornado ever went through Sharpsville. The nearest one may have been a mile and a half north,” Kincaid said.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security recommends that sirens should be tested at least once a week during severe weather season, and they suggest Fridays at 11 a.m.