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Need for more sirens sounded
Board approves five to fill in gaps
Siren map WEB
Forsyth Countys weather sirens are located as follows: A) Midway Park; B) Central Park; C) Shady Grove Park; D) Fire Station No. 14; E) Matt Elementary; F) Fire Station No. 10; G) Three Chimney Drive; H) Fire Station No. 15; I) Sawnee Elementary; J) Fire Department headquarters; K) Charleston Park; and L) Chestatee Elementary. Cummings lone siren is on a water tower near downtown (M). - photo by Staff illustration

 

Forsyth County soon will add some severe weather warning sirens, a measure prompted by feedback after Friday’s storms.

Commissioner Brian Tam said he was not able to hear the sounding alarms Friday while outside in the Brookwood community of south Forsyth.

He also had a constituent who expressed concern at being unable to hear them during the tornado warning that night.

“There’s this gap where we don’t have them,” Tam said. “We put them in spots where we owned land, and since that time we have purchased property and there are opportunities to add some more of these.”

Commissioners voted 4-0 on Tuesday, with member Todd Levent absent, to purchase five sirens to place across the county.

Funding will come from the fire department reserves.

The sirens are estimated to cost about $20,000 apiece. One likely will be placed in a coverage gap within each of the county’s five commission districts.

Forsyth has 12 sirens throughout the county at parks, schools and fire stations. The city of Cumming also has one on its water tower off Bald Ridge Marina Road.

Fire Chief Danny Bowman said the sirens are one of many instruments used to warn the public of impending severe weather. Others include text messages, weather radios and the county’s Web site.

Residents should be able to hear the sirens outside within about a 1.5-mile radius, Bowman said, though it’s unlikely people will hear them inside their homes.

“It’s meant to tell you to get indoors,” he said.

The county’s tornado sirens, which went in service in February 2009, are tested about noon on the first Wednesday of each month, weather permitting.