The village of Johnstown is taking measures to avoid a repeat of a Jan. 15 incident, when the severe weather siren at Adams Middle School blasted beginning at about 11:15 p.m. and continued for about an hour.

The village of Johnstown is taking measures to avoid a repeat of a Jan. 15 incident, when the severe weather siren at Adams Middle School blasted beginning at about 11:15 p.m. and continued for about an hour.

A malfunction of the siren caused by moisture in the system's control box appears to have caused the false alarm, said Jeff Walker, director of Licking County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

Village manager Judy Edwards said the village owns the siren; however, there has never been a maintenance agreement for the system.

"In the future, I've asked the service director to enter into a service agreement to make sure the equipment is working properly," Edwards said. "We'll do our best to prevent a malfunction in the future."

Walker said various Licking County villages and townships acquired severe weather sirens through EMA.

"They paid a little and got a grant that covered the majority of the cost," he said. "We can and do set it off during times of emergency. There isn't much maintenance, with the batteries lasting about four years."

He said contact was made with the siren's distributor, who identified last week's malfunction as moisture in the control box at the siren, which houses the control panel.

"This is caused by moisture entering the control box at the site of conduit entry or around the door seal of the control box," Walker said.

"When moisture gets into the control panel, it makes it run forever. It appears that's the culprit. You have to make sure the panel is moisture-proof."

Monroe Township Fire Department personnel pulled the alarm's fuse and disconnected its battery in order to silence the alarm.

"We received hundreds of calls about it," said Fire Chief Dudley Wright. "We received calls from Alexandria and Delaware County residents it went on so long."

Johnstown Police Chief Don Corbin said his department also fielded about 100 calls from local residents.

Walker said the county EMA tried to cancel the alarm from the controller at the Licking County 911 Center but that attempt was unsuccessful.