When sirens sound, it’s too late to leave

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2011

County EMA director Susan Harris said if there’s one lesson learned after Saturday’s tornado, it’s this, “Have a plan before the sirens sound.”

“When the sirens went off, there were numerous calls to (the EMA office) and to 911 by people who lived in a mobile home who wanted to know where to go,” Harris said. “At that point, when the weather is on us and the sirens are sounding, there’s no way we can help them.”

Harris said the event was a prime example of the importance of a disaster safety plan.

“You have to get a plan together of where to go – be it a neighbor’s house, family, somewhere safe – if you don’t feel comfortable where you are,” she said.

Harris explained in times of inclement weather, watches and warnings are issued.

“When we’re under a watch, no sirens sound, but you can tell the weather is going to get bad,” she said. “That’s when you should start paying attention to the weather by whatever means you use – television, radio, Internet.

“During a warning, the sirens go off every 10 to 15 minutes until the warning is over,” she said. “That is when you should start getting prepared.”

For more information on how to prepare a disaster safety plan, click here.