Never turn down anything that will help you and cost you nothing. The Powell County Emergency Management Agency took advantage of that philosophy last week. Madison County received new severe weather and emergency sirens, so they needed to find homes for their old ones. In stepped Powell and Fayette Counties. Lexington took 11, while Powell took 18 of the warning devices. The devices would have cost $250,000 and that includes the control boxes to operate them, which also was given to the county.
“This will help cover the county better during severe weather and emergency situations,” Powell EMA Director Arthur Ashley said last week as he watched the sirens being delivered to the county. Ashley, the Powell County Road Department and transportation provided by a Red River Ranch vehicle, worked together to bring the sirens to Stanton. Roger’s Hardware helped with the unloading process.
“These devices can sound the tornado sirens, and they have the capability of allowing us to make announcements. We can let people know about certain events or emergencies that are occurring and they will be aware of what they need to do,” Ashley said. “This will be a project for us to install during the winter, so we can be ready by next spring’s severe weather season.”
With the addition of the 18 Powell County received last week, the county will now have 30 devices to cover the county. “These, like the ones we already have, are made to help alert people who are outside,” Ashley stated. “We can take the ones that are siren only and move them into the more rural areas of the county as a warning device for them. Then we can place the ones with announcement capabilities closer to the cities or areas where there is a bigger concentration of people to keep them informed.” Around large portions of Clay City and Stanton, along with the parks and schools would be areas like Ashley was suggesting.
“We want to use the siren part only for tornado warnings. If we use the sirens too much people will tend not to be alarmed when they are set off,” Ashley added. “We can use the announcements to let areas know of other issues or alerts. That way when a siren goes off, they will know what it is and not have to call around to see why they are sounding.”
Ashley hopes to be able to cover the county more efficiently with the additional devices, including out as examples in areas like Nada, Southfork, Northfork and the Rosslyn and Cat Creek areas. “I hope we can do this, but they have a capability to sound a chime at noon every day. That would be a way to sort of test them and make sure they are working. We could test them once a week to make sure they are functioning and then we know we are ready if they are needed,” Ashley said.
“In the long run we want to make sure everyone in the county gets ample warning and the necessary information they need to stay safe,” Ashley added. “That is why we plan for and try to make sure we are ready for just about anything. These sirens will help a lot.”