Henry County EMA pushes Code Red as alternative to sirens

Published 07/22 2014 06:51PM

Updated 08/07 2014 09:26AM

A system designed to alert people around Henry County about weather dangers has the City of Abbeville concerned, after a faulty weather siren recently sounded off, alarming people in the area.

"It was obviously a mechanical malfunction.  There's someone coming to repair it, if that can be done," said Henry County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Ronnie Dollar.

But it's more than just the noise that's raising concern in the area. It can cost thousands just to repair one siren, and officials say the city also foots an electric bill on top of any maintenance.  But some say one solution is to eliminate the sirens and go with the code red system.

"The fortunate thing here in Henry County is that we have a contract with Farley (Nuclear Plant), and as part of that contract, our Code Red is paid each year, and that's actually $9,000.00.  So in essence, the people of Henry County have free access to Code Red,” Dollar said.

He estimates right now the sirens only reach about one-third of the people around the county, but under the code red system, people receive phone calls, text messages and/or emails of any weather alerts.

"At night, if someone's at home in the bed, and even living in town with sirens, if they don't hear the sirens outside, this rings their phone, at home, and it tells them their under a tornado warning,” said Dollar.

For information on how to sign up for Code Red, you can contact the Henry County EMA.

The City of Abbeville is considering alternatives to its weather sirens, but city council members voted to table those discussions for now.

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