Cave City uses grant to improve its tornado siren system - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Cave City uses grant to improve its tornado siren system

CAVE CITY, AR (KAIT) – Seconds matter when severe weather strikes, and now Cave City can better warn its residents if a storm approaches.

The town got a grant recently to buy a newer, larger tornado siren and relocate the older one, which has widened the reach of the alert system to just about every corner of town.

"This new siren is a stationary siren," Police Chief Nathan Stephens said. "That's one thing I didn't like so much about the old siren covering by itself because it was a rotating siren, which means you would hear the sound and then the sound would go away for a little bit until it came back pointing at you. With this [new] siren…it'll be a continual sound in all direction all the time while it's going off."

Chief Stephens says people should be able to hear the new siren within a 3.5-mile radius. The town would have paid about $24,000 to buy and install this siren, but it luckily received two grants that covered about $17,000 of that cost.

"Our old siren that was located at the school, we were having some issues with the controller on it, and when I called to get the prices on repairing the old siren, it was going to run into a lot of money to repair a bunch of old equipment," Stephens said. "Rather that do that, we – myself and the city council – talked and decided to go ahead and apply for these grants and try to get a grant before we made a move on repairing the old siren."

The new siren replaces the older one that rotated and required someone to physically turn it on during severe weather.

"The old siren, we were having to go out and stand on a ladder at the pole and push a button in the control box on the pole, which was putting the officers in danger in the upcoming storms," Stephens said.

Crews will now make it to where not only the new siren but also the older one can now be set off anywhere by just a touch of a button.

"I could be in Batesville and set the siren off," Stephens said.

The town has moved the older siren to the town's sewer plant located at the sound end of Cave City, which will now alert people like Pam Stice that live outside city limits and have not gotten much coverage from the tornado sirens before.

"It'll give us a peace of mind that maybe we can be alerted beforehand to where we can take cover," Stice said.

Mark Melton has lived in Cave City only seven months, so he has yet to experience much severe weather there. When it does hit, however, he says he's glad to know there's improved safety measures.

"I worry a lot about me and my son," Melton said. "I want the quickest information we can get. That's always a good deal."

Chief Stephens says he hopes to have the new tornado siren up and running by this weekend. He expects crews to come back later to make sure the older siren is back online again.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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