Indoor siren

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Technical glitches left many outdoor weather warning sirens across Marengo County silent last Wednesday as a small tornado briefly ravaged east Demopolis.

Less than 300 yards from one siren on Highway 80 East lay most of the damage but without a weather radio, many businesses on that end of town were unaware of what was coming their way.

“Outside weather sirens are for people who are outside,” said Demopolis Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Carl Johnson. “Weather radio monitor the weather and notify the public, generally by county.”

Weather radios can be turned to only alert when a warning is issued for a particular county.

Johnson said they serve as a good backup to outdoor sirens, especially if you live in an area where sirens are not audible from indoors.

“You don’t want to rely solely on a siren,” he said noting that last Wednesday’s storm system threw an additional curve ball by not taking the path many meteorologists predicted. “This one threw a lot of people off because the news said it would probably bypass Demopolis. It didn’t quite do that.”

Weather radio are available locally for $25 and up.

Chief Ronnie Few said last Wednesday’s unexpected outbreak was a good opportunity for residents to review their tornado safety plans, which include going to a basement or interior hallway.

“The basement is ideal but a hallway is okay if you don’t have one because most of the time those are load bearing walls and can stand up to the winds,” he said.

“And sit in a position that covers your head, face and body as much as possible.”