This Cañon City Company has made emergency sirens for 115 years

The manufacturer moved to Colorado in the early 1970s when the Yarberry family bought the business and rebranded it Sentry Siren

Photo courtesy of Sentry Siren

Sentry Siren | Cañon City

Founded in New York as Sterling Siren in 1905, the stalwart siren manufacturer moved to Colorado in the early 1970s when the Yarberry family bought the business and rebranded it Sentry Siren.

“More than anything, it comes down to the fact that it’s a good place to live,” COO Scott Yarberry says of the move. Another factor: proximity to its prime market of Tornado Alley, stretching from Texas to South Dakota.

Now 14 employees, the company has built a reputation over its 115 years of operation as the gold standard of emergency sirens. There are Sentry Sirens operating on all seven continents, including one at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Yarberry says they’re popular because they’re built to last, with simple and elegant designs. The 10V, unchanged since 1981, uses only two moving parts to belt out a 115-decibel wail 100 meters in all directions. There are currently more than 5,000 10Vs in service on Earth.

“We’re not a company that’s big on planned or accepted obsolescence,” Yarberry says. “We’ve always believed in overbuild and overperform.”

That’s something of an understatement: One siren the company built in 1928 is still installed on a clocktower in Maryland and “functionally flawless” without a rebuild, he notes. Another standout installation of 53 sirens in Evansville, Indiana, went into service in the 1980s and 1990s. “Every single one of them is still functioning,” Yarberry says.

The siren factory takes a similar approach, using some of the same machinery it did during the 1940s alongside modern technology. “Using the same equipment for 60, 70 years, we want our products to be viewed in the same light,” Yarberry says.

With the near-infinitesimal failure rate comes the need for new products. Sentry Siren has moved into software-driven voice sirens with the VR series. Yarberry says there was “a rush to market in the early ’90s,” and voice sirens from other manufacturers were largely unintelligible. “We stayed out of that marketplace until a few years ago, when we found a technology that replicated the human voice effectively over long ranges.”

The company has also diversified into software that complements its tornado-warning sirens with the Storm Sentry system that integrates with real-time weather data to automatically activate sirens.

It all adds up to “steady double-digit growth” year after year as Yarberry is starting to look for a bigger space in Fremont County to respond to demand.

“We are in the process of roughly doubling our manufacturing space,” Yarberry says. “We’re in about 8,000 square feet now. We’re going to go quite a bit bigger.”


This article is part of the 2020 Made in Colorado feature. To learn more about the Colorado companies changing manufacturing in the state, click here

Categories: Made in Colorado, Magazine Articles