Outagamie County approves plan to transfer ownership of sirens to local municipalities

APPLETON, WIS. - Outagamie County supervisors approved a plan Tuesday night to transfer ownership of its outdoor alert sirens to local towns and villages, beginning January 1, 2020. 

County leaders say they want to investing instead in a more high-tech alert system and they want to hand the sirens over to towns and villages.

"We have a moral obligation to make sure that we are getting into the hands of the people the latest, greatest technology that can get more accurate information as quickly as possible," said Tom Nelson, Outagamie County Executive, in May. 

The emergency sirens are designed to make a noise that can be heard outdoors. However, if you sign up for the county's new AtHoc program, the system will let you know exactly kind of emergency is happening and can reach you pretty much anywhere in the county.

The sirens aren't going away. Instead, the county will transfer ownership to local governments allowing municipalities to decide if they should maintain the devices.     

The county says they will transfer levy authority for the upkeep, meaning this change won't affect your wallet.

“Outagamie County is not doing this to save money. Outagamie County is doing this and putting its dollars into a system that will reach every resident in Outagamie County. Today our sirens do not,” said Lisa Van Schyndel, Outagamie County Emergency Management director, in May. 

43 sirens dot the county, but don't come close to covering the whole thing. Now, people have another way to stay safe.

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