Weatherford started installing poles for the storm siren project last week.
Weatherford Marketing and Communications Director Blake Rexroat said 10 sirens are planned to be installed. The system is expected to be up and running within the next three months. All equipment, including software, has been purchased and is planned to be installed after the poles are up.
“It is an early warning system, which could save lives in case of severe weather,” Rexroat said.
The overall cost of the siren system is less than $200,000, Rexroat said.
Currently, the city uses Blackboard Connect to notify residents about urgent and non-urgent issues, Weatherford Fire Chief Paul Rust and Police Chief Lance Arnold said. Rust encourages residents to sign-up for the free service on the city’s website.
The outdoor warning sirens add another layer to the notification systems, Rust said.
“The outdoor warning sirens go back to the civil defense days,” Rust said. “They are older technology, but they are tried and true. I envision the sirens being extremely valuable for notifying of approaching severe weather. The sirens will be located as to ensure that those who are outdoors (i.e. city parks, heritage square, high school football stadium) will be reached. Many of the folks we are attempting to reach with the sirens are not necessarily citizens, but maybe visitors to Weatherford. Our goal is to make every effort to reach everyone we can in the event of an emergency.”
Arnold also said this is another tool to alert people about potential safety hazards.
“We’ve seen over the course especially this last year the potential for severe weather and severe storms, including tornadoes, are fairly significant in the North Texas area,” Arnold said. “Anything we can do to improve advanced warning in an effort to keep people safe is good.”
Protocol for what to do when sirens go off would need to be developed and taught to residents, Arnold said.