Sounding the alarm of approaching storms in those rural areas is the idea of a new Garvin County project.
Dave Johnson says when he first stepped into the role of the county’s emergency management director a few months ago Garvin County’s commissioners expressed an interest in him checking out ways to warn the public in the country away from towns when dangerous weather might be on its way.
“The answer might come with the strategic placement of storm sirens all over the county,” Johnson said.
He calls it an “outdoor public warning system.”
“There are several areas in the county where they don’t have sirens or any way to warn people about threatening weather.
“You think about it, there might be a guy out cutting hay or plowing a field. If they’re out of their cab they’re probably not listening to the radio. You might be in the garden or down at the pond fishing with your grandchildren.
“This would give people like that some warning. It would give you a better opportunity to know about a storm and go to shelter.”
The mission here is to begin pursing grant monies to pay for the purchase of 10 storm sirens with each about 110 decibels reaching out to an area with a radius of about 22,000 feet.
If the project ever becomes a reality Johnson said the idea is to pick some heavily populated areas, like just southeast of Lindsay or south of Paoli, and strategically place a rural storm siren, or maybe just on top of a “tall hill.”
“If you’re outside this will notify you to take shelter,” he said.
“Anything we can do to improve the level of public awareness about threatening storms I’m all for.”
A grant is the only way to make it happen as the project cost would come to nearly $200,000.
First things first as officials here will need to have an updated county hazard and mitigation plan approved by the Federal Management Agency, better known just as FEMA.
Once the updated plan gets the OK the grant process for the sirens will likely take at least a year.
“Several counties in Oklahoma have implemented this. The good thing is we can go see how they’re doing it.”
Johnson adds he’s also seeking input from fire chiefs all over the county.