OUR VIEW: Public safety should be top priority

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 15, 2007

When the Demopolis Finance Council meets today, they will

have a full slate to handle. Among the items with which they will deal is how to work into their existing budget the purchase of two to three more emergency sirens.

The sirens are to be sounded during inclement weather to warn residents of impending danger. Currently, the city has only two working sirens and three total. The most recent survey used to determine how many sirens the city needs to adequately warn citizens put the need at five sirens. This, however, was before the city annexed additional areas.

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Our region is a hotbed for straightline winds and tornadoes. In the last six months, Demopolis sustained a direct hit while areas around us took severe damage during a separate storm.

We urge the city to move to immediately purchase at least three sirens and have them installed. At the same time, we hope they will commission a new survey to determine the city’s needs.

We understand the city must work within their budget. Nonetheless, the safety and well-being of our citizenry is of the utmost concern.

Government’s first obligation is to protect its people. Right now, our people are vulnerable because of the lack of sirens.

We are not advocating wasteful spending, but we do believe that both the purchase of the new sirens and the commissioning of a new study must take place with no haste.

In our opinion, city leaders seem committed to the purchase of new sirens. Where the question lies is with whether or not they will explore the need of having more than just five to six sirens.

Action is needed today, and then the people of the city can rest more comfortably.