Community raising funds for tornado sirens

(Source: David Woods, Office of Emergency Services Director for Cherokee Village)
(Source: David Woods, Office of Emergency Services Director for Cherokee Village)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

CHEROKEE VILLAGE, AR (KAIT) - The largest town in Sharp County is raising money for tornado sirens to warn its nearly 4,800 residents about severe weather.

The City of Cherokee Village does not have any sirens currently.

"Just a few years back, you know, we had one that ripped through Highland and that's awful close and the people here had no idea that anything was even… without watching your weather, they had no idea that conditions were favorable for a tornado, much less one was on the ground," Office of Emergency Management Director David Woods said.

Each siren will cost $20,000 and studies have shown that it will take four sirens to protect all of the citizens.

Woods said that people living on the outskirts of Cherokee Village can hear sirens from Highland, Hardy, and Ash Flat, but the main population would not be warned if a tornado was heading their way.

"We're trying to focus on an area that's widely populated and we can put our first siren in and cover the biggest part of the village," Woods said.

He wants all of their residents to be adequately protected.

"We're a retirement community and we're nestled in the hills and it kind of gives the people an early warning because you can't just walk out here and look at the horizon and see what's coming, you have to have some sort of early warning," Woods said.

Woods said the town is too small for federal grants but too large for rural grants, so they have to raise the money themselves.

The city is hoping businesses and private citizens will step up to help purchase them.

FNBC Bank helped by donating a $5,000 check to the city Tuesday afternoon.

One Cherokee Village woman said she thinks it's an effort the whole city should get behind.

"I know that, you know, it's flood area so that's something that people are cautious of and they always put the [road blocks] to make sure you're safe so why not make sure that you're safe in tornadoes?" Jamie McCollum said. "I did grow up in North Texas with tons of tornadoes and you need to know when they're coming."

The first siren will be placed near Lake Thunderbird where several houses are located.

Those wanting to donate can do so by dropping a donation off at the FNBC Bank in Cherokee Village, at city hall, or by mail at P.O. Box 129 Cherokee Village, AR, 72525.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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