Last Saturday morning, I drove several miles out the Galen Road to the museum, where McCord Communications of Alabama, was installing one of the outside emergency warning sirens that is a part of the $3,058,970 disaster recovery grant Macon County received following the 2008 tornado.
“As part of the disaster recovery grant money we received in 2013, these 14 sirens are being installed by McCord Communications, out of Alabama,” said 911 Director and Mayor-elect Steve Jones. “They started installing them last week and they should be finished by Labor Day and have them operational.”
Jones said these 14 sirens will be scattered all around Macon County to try and give as many of the citizens as they can a warning signal for impending bad weather. “I want to emphasize that they are outdoor emergency warning sirens,” he said. “That means they are designed for people outdoors to alert them when there is a tornado threat.”
“They will be tested the first Saturday of every month around noon,” Jones said. “They are designed to work off a National Weather Service polygon, so if a storm track is tracking thru the west side of the county it will set all the sirens off on the west side and not the east. That is how they work.”
Jones said they are putting approximately $325,000 in fourteen warning sirens in the controller system where they will all be activated together along with the seven that the City of Lafayette has. “We hope everyone will bear with us as we are testing them,” added Jones. “Every school has an emergency siren now and we have partnered with NCTC to put some of these warning sirens on their properties.”
These are battery operated systems so if the current cuts off they will still operate. The batteries are charged by solar power, all but one.
According to Jones, everybody in the community wants these put up. “Unfortunately there is no way that we can put these sirens at every location, but we are installing them in heavily populated areas or places that have a previous history of tornadoes in the area.”
“Everybody so far seems to be very happy that the warning sirens are being installed in their communities and we want to emphasize once again, that they are outdoor sirens. You may not hear them in your house sometimes, but if you are outside that is what they are for.”
The locations include Rocky Mound, Siloam, Green Grove, Hillsdale, Maple Grove, Green Valley, Willette, RBS, Bethany, Galen, East Stinson, Gap of the Ridge, Drapers Cross Roads, Eulia and Beech Grove.