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City warning siren system nears completion

Staff Writer

Residents in the City of Troy should feel a bit safer, now.

Under cloudy skies, city officials announced Thursday the early warning system for weather is nearing completion.

The system, which will consist of nine sirens that can be activated from the Troy Police Department’s dispatch in the event of a tornado warning or when something poses a danger to the public.

Eight of those sirens have already been installed and the entire nine-siren system, which was financed totally by the Troy City Council, cost approximately $150,000.

The idea of installing the sirens took root when Hurricane Opal came through Troy a few years ago.

"We’ve been talking about it since then," Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said. "It’s been something people in the community have been asking for."

Troy City Council President John Witherington said "a lot of work has gone into this project" to ensure the safety of those living in the city limits.

City officials talked with those in other municipalities about the siren systems they have installed.

"We wanted the most modern and state-of-the-art sirens because we wanted to make sure we had enough to cover the entire community," Witherington said.

Lunsford is pleased the project is almost done.

"We know it will completely cover the City of Troy," Lunsford said of the siren system.

He said the biggest areas of concern were the schools and business districts since a tornado can hit at any time.

"The early warning system is one of the most advanced systems on the market that alerts communities about dangerous weather and emergencies," Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said. "This system has numerous options which we hope will provide many years of reliable and immediate service to the citizens of Troy."

Troy Councilman Jason Reeves worked on getting the warning sirens for the community.

He pointed out the system will have battery backup and phone lines to each siren will notify the police department if someone is vandalizing it.

"We hope we will be able to work out the kinks other communities have experienced," he said of the problems other areas have reported with the siren system.

The three-minute-long siren will sound in the event of severe weather or another emergency. All of the sirens are set up around the city so that the tones will overlap and provide warnings to the greatest amount of people.

After all the sirens are up and running, a test will be conducted. That test is scheduled for 10 a.m. on March 29.

Weather permitting, the sirens will be tested at noon on the first Wednesday of each month.

"We hope and pray we’ll never have to use it except during the monthly test," Lunsford said.

Everage said residents should tune into a local radio station or other broadcast media if they hear the siren. Citizens should not call 911 to report the siren because doing so makes it more difficult for those with actual emergencies to get help, he said.