Emergency workers, law enforcement preparing for strong storms

CAVE CITY, AR (KAIT) – The threat of severe weather Tuesday evening raised concerns for area emergency workers and local law enforcement.

Officials in Cave City began preparing for the worst, as it treats any risk of strong storms seriously.

The local police and firefighters there were all on standby Tuesday evening, checking over their equipment and readying shelters earlier in the day.

"I got here at 7:30 this morning, and I'll be here till the last thunder claps," Nathan Stephens said.

Stephens made that promise while facing his first potentially severe weather situation as Cave City's new police chief.

"What I've heard so far is we're going to have a lot of wind, supposed to be really bad wind," Stephens said. "From what I understand, they've updated the tornado threat to moderate."

Stephens planned to watch conditions closely late into the night in case he has to alert the community.

The town's two tornado sirens are operated manually, so he checked Tuesday morning to make sure they would sound if a strong storm should strike.

"First and foremost, I want to keep everybody safe with a siren," he said, "but I also got to be aware of keeping my patrolmen safe as well as firefighters."

The town's volunteer firemen also planned to disperse throughout Cave City in their trucks. They will sound their alarms too if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

"Whenever we give them the word 'go,' you turn on your siren," said Ronny Milligan, the Cave City fire chief, "and you drive all over town with your sirens going because in the middle of the night, most people are not knowing what's going on but they'll hear the sirens on the trucks."

Milligan also prepared to dispatch the department's mobile command center – a fully equipped, remodeled 24-foot car trailer – if needed.

The city even planned to open the basement of the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Cave City or the high school's safe room to serve as a potential storm shelter.

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