HARDY, AR (KAIT) - The City of Hardy will soon have an updated emergency radio system and a new tornado siren, something officials have been working on for nearly two years.
The town received a $1,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield that will be combined with that will be combined with money from the city, the county, and the sheriff's department to make the upgrades.
Because the city is in a valley, their emergency radios often don't get a clear signal and their communication doesn't go through to dispatch or other units.
"In every aspect of it, communication is key to being there on time," Hardy Mayor Jason Jackson said. "If we don't have that communication then we're in trouble."
To help alleviate that problem, they are replacing the antennas, wires, and repeater on the radio system.
"Especially on the police side, if you've got someone pulled over, every few minutes dispatch is saying are you okay. They want to make sure and if your radio is not coming through then you can't answer so then there's always that chance," Jackson said. "And if something happens and you're hitting your radio and keying up, you want to make sure they're hearing that you need help."
A strong signal will also be important for the new tornado siren, which should be installed sometime in early March.
The current siren is about 50 years old.
Mayor Jason Jackson told Region 8 News in 2017 that the siren runs through the phone lines instead of through the wireless police and fire radios like newer ones do.
That has caused the siren to go off anytime there is a surge in the phone line causing several false alarms in the past few years.
The new siren will be triggered by a police officer or firefighter through their radio or by pushing a button at dispatch.
"We want everybody to know that from now on if it's going off we are activating it," Jackson said. "It's not going to be false alarms anymore like it has been. If you hear it we want you to go to your safe spot and not just dismiss it anymore."
Jackson said this is safer for their city officials because right now the siren can only be triggered from the fire department, which is not manned 24 hours a day.