Emergency Services officials in Dade County, Georgia have installed a new tornado siren in the Trenton area to help ensure the safety of citizens in the event of a tornado in the county.
Officials say the next time the area is under a tornado warning, residents within about a mile radius from the siren will be able to hear it sound along with enunciating a verbal/speech warning — “Attention! Attention! There’s a tornado warning for your area!”
In an interview with WRCB-TV (bit.ly/2hHP1fn), Dade County Emergency Services Director Alex Case said the siren will cover the city of Trenton including the Trenton city park, Dade County Elementary, Dade County Middle School, and Dade County High School.
The siren comes as an upgrade from an older and now more obsolete siren that was installed about 20 years ago behind the Trenton City Hall. While the old siren still works, it has to be operated manually where the new one will automatically sound as soon as the National Weather Services issues a warning for the area.
Case says the automatic siren only sounds if there’s a Tornado Warning; however, there’s also a manual option which could allow county officials to use the siren to make public announcements for other reasons such as an evacuation notice.
Officials say the new siren will be tested out loud once per quarter starting in 2017 and a silent test is done every day.
The best part for local residents is that that the majority of the cost didn’t come from the county’s annual budget. Dade was able to cover about $40,000 of the $48,000 needed with money received from a federal grant to cover. The remaining amount was raised locally through a special sales tax (SPLOST) over the past few years.
The county hopes that new SPLOST funds that are raised until 2021 will help add seven more sirens across the county including one at Cloudland Canyon State Park.
Currently in Marion County, local authorities in South Pittsburg have been using the “fire whistle” or siren at the South Pittsburg Fire Department to alert South Pittsburg residents of harm. Jasper also recently decided to once again use their fire siren when needed. Both city’s sirens require manual operation.
Recently talks of a tornado siren for the Whitwell area have been mentioned by city officials after a tornado ripped through the north end of the county near Whitwell in late November of 2016. No plans to purchase or install a siren have been made yet as the commissioners interested in doing this say they’re just in the preliminary stages of the process and gathering information to present to their peers at this time.
Marion County also uses a Reverse 911 system to call residents on their home and cell phones in the event of severe weather. You can contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Department at 423-942-5667 to find out how to be included on that list.
Local meteorologists and emergency officials also urge everyone to purchase an inexpensive NOAA Weather Radio with S.A.M.E. programming (such as this affordable model found on Amazon.com) as a backup alert that could prove to save you and your family’s lives in the event a tornado affects our area during the nighttime hours.