RF seeks input: Another weather siren needed?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2017

The River Falls Council is mulling whether or not to purchase a second weather siren for the town.

Covington County EMA Director Susan Harris spoke to the council Tuesday night and told them that Crenshaw County is getting rid of their 20-something sirens and switching to a different method for warning.

They are changing to the CodeRED notification technology, which is supposed to give their county the potential for 100 percent coverage.

With the CodeRED system, the county will be able to inform residents and visitors via use of the system and the CodeRED Mobile Alert app of weather related events, as well as other time-sensitive activities including escaped prisoners, local crime alerts, missing persons, boil water notices and more.

Harris said she was going to get two to replace the sirens at Libertyville and Sanford that were struck by lightning.

Harris said the total cost to purchase the used sirens would be around $3,600.

“Several counties are taking down their sirens,” Harris said. “I am not in favor of this at this time.”

Harris said she thinks the more options available to warn residents the better.

She told the council that when a tornado warning is issued for the county, she sets off all 21 no matter where it is in the county.

“That’s because of word of mouth,” she said. “If a grandmother in Red Level hears the siren, she will most likely call her granddaughter in Florala.”

River Falls Mayor Patricia Gunter asked how they determine where to place the sirens.

Harris said the 21 that are in place were placed in the most populated areas and near schools and hospitals.

She said that the siren is supposed to signal a mile radius.

“I feel like you can hear them,” she said.

Gunter said Wednesday that she would like for River Falls residents’ to give their opinion on whether they can hear the siren in River Falls currently or if they think there is need for another.

“We would like input from residents if they think they’re hearing it or if an added one would be beneficial,” she said.

Gunter said the $3,600 compared to $25,000 for a new one is a bargain only if it’s something the town needs.

Residents who have feedback are asked to contact town hall at 222-3510.