Cave City uses grant to improve its tornado siren system

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

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

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

Chief Stephens says people should be able to hear the newsiren within a 3.5-mile radius. The town would have paid about $24,000 to buyand 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 werehaving some issues with the controller on it, and when I called to get theprices on repairing the old siren, it was going to run into a lot of money torepair 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 forthese grants and try to get a grant before we made a move on repairing the oldsiren."

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

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

Crews will now make it to where not only the new siren butalso 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," Stephenssaid.

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

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

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

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

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

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