• 55°

City decides severe weather

warning siren locations

By MICHELLE J. WILSON

Staff Writer

Published Aug. 2, 1999

City officials are working to give Troy citizens advance warning if severe weather moves into the area.

Members of the Council, city administration, engineering and police departments have settled upon locations for nine warning sirens. The sirens are part of a severe weather warning system to be installed by fall.

Sirens will be placed in the areas of downtown, State Highway 29 West and East, Troy Municipal Airport, Troy State University, Big Creek, Hephzibah, Mossy Grove and U.S. Highway 231 South.

The $133,776 project was approved at the Council meeting July 13.

The warning system shows the city’s commitment to public safety, said Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage. In the event of severe weather, these sirens would be used to warn citizens to take cover and tune in to weather reports.

A lot of planning has gone into deciding what system to purchase and where to place the sirens. Everage said he has researched different types of systems and interviewed officials from cities who have systems in place.

"In our opinion, the system we bought is the best one out there," he said. "It eliminates all the problems other cities have experienced with their systems."

Council and the mayor were "very supportive of going with the best system available," Everage said.

The kind of early warning system Troy is buying monitors itself to ensure it is functioning properly, he said. This means the system will alert officials if it is not working. This way, they can ensure it is online if an emergency occurs. A siren can be sounded in one part of town and not in another.

It will be operated through TPD’s dispatch office, Everage said.

Although it is an "outdoor warning system," Everage said citizens will be able to hear the sirens from inside their homes.

They decided to install nine sirens so all areas within the city limits would be within the siren’s range, Lunsford said.

"We were cognizant of the industrial areas, schools, Troy State University and the hospital," he said.

Lunsford said it was important to ensure adequate coverage in these areas, as well as across the city, because of the large concentration of people here during business hours.

"We are also covering areas around the edge of the city limits, such as Swindall Trailer Park and Union Hill," Lunsford said. "This system covers a considerable amount of the built-up areas."

"This is going to be a good thing to increase public safety," Everage said. "It will also increase awareness of the dangers of severe weather.

"Sometimes you don’t know tornadoes are coming, especially at night."

Not only will the system warn citizens of approaching storms. Educational programs are planned to raise awareness of weather dangers.

Once the system comes on line this fall, the city will have educational informational and system tests so citizens will know what to do when a warning siren sounds, Lunsford said.

Council had hoped the city would be included in a county-wide severe weather warning system. The plan was to be funded by federal grant money.

Council’s decision to buy a warning system comes after the Pike County Commission allocated the money for a county-wide system, but did not include Troy.

"Over the last several years, we are seeing more and more severe weather here," said Troy Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford. "Anything the city can do to warn people is worth what will have to be spent."

Council President John H. Witherington said, "This is a very positive thing. We are taking into consideration the health and safety of our citizens rather than waiting years for grant money to come in (to buy the system)."