Sirens prompt flood of E911 calls

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2001

Staff Writer

Today brings with it a 90 percent of rain and strong possibilities of severe weather.

If the threat is there officials will do what they can to get information to the public via the outdoor warning sirens.

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However, Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage is asking residents to also do their part.

This past weekend, the warning sirens sounded, sending many people to their phones and dialing the police department’s and E-911 numbers.

"We had to many people calling the police department our dispatchers couldn’t answer other calls," Everage said.

"We understand everyone’s need to know," but the police department needs the public’s cooperation.

"One day, is someone’s not going to be able to get through in a true emergency."

Everage also pointed out the sirens are intended to be heard outdoors, although those living nearby may hear it indoors.

Although they do not substitute for listening to weather reports, the sirens can serve as a warning to those who might be outside and unaware of approaching danger. In the event of a tornado warning ­ when a tornado has actually been spotted ­ a three-minute-long siren will sound.

"Our early warning system is basically an exterior warning," Everage said.

"We can’t guarantee everyone in Troy is going to hear a siren. There’s no way you can put enough sirens so everyone can here them."

The Troy Police Department’s policy is to sound the sirens if Pike County is placed under a tornado warning, meaning conditions are favorable for such storm activity. Sirens can also be sounded if a tornado is spotted or verified by a law enforcement officer.

Everage and Pike County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Davis said it is important residents listen to weather reports on television or radio to get further information.

"We want to do all we can do, but we’ve got to be able to provide emergency services," Everage said.

"We’re concerned about someone not getting help. When you get that volume of calls (like this past weekend) coming in, that’s possible."

In Pike County, sirens have been installed near the county schools and in the city limits of Troy and Brundidge.