The Booneville Police Department’s test of the city’s tornado siren system conducted last Wednesday revealed an issue.
While the sirens sounded correctly and the doors of the tornado safe room between the school district’s junior high and high schools opened as designed, that was not the case for the older of the district’s safe rooms.
The safe room at Booneville Elementary School failed to open, BPD Lieutenant Ben Villarreal said after the test.
The mechanism that receives a signal to open those doors was installed at the time the safe room between the high school and junior high school was built.
Villarreal said another test of the system will be conducted once the issue with the elementary safe room has been resolved.
Both of the safe rooms have been utilized in the past, the most recent coming during a basketball game in December of 2017 which sent the audience and teams — between 150 and 200 people — to the safe room for a short time.
During Memorial Day weekend in 2015 a tornado warning activated the siren and the elementary school safe room filled to near capacity.
The sirens sound only tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service because conditions are favorable for a tornado to form at any point during the period for which the warning is created.
The sirens are not activated for tornado watches issued by the service.