Residents calling for sirens after tornado rips through Pendleton

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PENDLETON, Ind. – Some homeowners in Pendleton are asking for outdoor sirens after an EF2 tornado ripped through the town Monday night. Right now, they don’t have any. Residents think it could help in the future.

Most people said they knew to go inside because they got an alert on their cell phone. Minutes later, they said the tornado ripped through their neighborhoods.

"It came up out of nowhere," said Kellie Borgman, a homeowner.

Borgman said she cannot believe no one was seriously hurt. She and her family stood in the doorway for safety because they don’t have a basement.

Borgman got an alert on her phone about the tornado but she said she doesn’t want to rely on that.

"Mine was almost dead because we had a storm earlier in the day so if we lost power, my phone would have been completely dead," she said.

Now, she and some neighbors want tornado sirens in Pendleton. As of Thursday evening, just over 200 people signed an online petition asking for tornado sirens in the town.

Each siren costs an average of $25,000, according to Todd Harmeson with Madison County EMA.

"I think that it is worth it," said Adrienne Murphy, resident in Pendleton. "For the safety of our community, I think it’s worth it."

Town Council didn’t talk to CBS4 on camera. The president, Jessica Smith, said she hears their concerns and they will review their current severe weather plans and look for opportunities to enhance or refine them.

"Tornado sirens are what people are most familiar with, but new technologies are available that provide more accurate and more timely warnings," she said in an email. "From what we are hearing, the County notifications were instrumental in warning residents of the danger and likely contributed to us having only one non-life threatening injury on Monday evening."

During a news conference on Wednesday, Harmeson said municipalities decide whether or not to install sirens.

"These devices here receive an alarm no matter where you are at," said Harmeson while showing a cell phone. "Outdoor sirens are only effective when you are outdoors."

Thankfully, everyone was safe after this storm. Some homeowners though want more done in case this happens again.

"After going through that, I think any kind of warning for our community would be great," said Borgman.

Harmeson said at least nine municipalities in the county have sirens.

Madison County EMA also strongly recommended getting a weather alert radio. Town officials said Pendleton residents can pick one up at Town Hall for $20.

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