For residents it was a sound so familiar but forgotten, that many had to stop Monday afternoon as a tornado siren blasted through the airwaves of Trousdale.
Crews from McCord Communications installed a Whelen brand siren, the largest in it’s class according to County Mayor Jake West at City Hall.
“The location and positioning of the siren was determined by McCord Communications, to be the center point of the county,” said West. “It’s range, with the terrain of our county, can be heard up to three miles away. The siren is equipped with a voice command that can reach and be clearly understood at one mile.”
West added, “The location is a perfect fit when considering the schools, hospital, parks and convalescent homes all being with in the one mile.”
While many Nashville media outlets have claimed this is Trousdale’s first siren, but according to West, Trousdale had an old siren that dated back to the ’60s and was used into the early ’80s by the county. Eventually it was retired due to its life expectancy and new technology.
The new siren is part of Phase I of a $750,000 government grant that has approved money for back-up generators, limb chippers, fuel pump replacement to name a few items to help communities in recovery from the February 2008 tornadoes and preparedness for the next storm.
“After the tragic event of 2008, the Federal Government discovered 35 counties across the State of Tennessee that had received substantial damage to property, residential and governmental,” said West. “We hope to never need to use this siren, but with time and considering the past few years, maybe our experience with the siren will allow us to consider more to be added as funding is made available.”
According to West, government officials will meet and discuss “what time of day or which day testing of the siren should take place.”
“Our old siren was used to alert our fireman in the event of a fire. The test of the old siren once occurred at noon each Thursday.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) will automatically activate the siren when the county is put under a tornado warning. West added that “a voice text will also call into dispatch landline for a secondary warning if something were to fail at NWS.”
“I ask that everyone have patience with us over the next few months, as we test the siren settings, tones and voice command,” said West. “The testing time will be very important to us all in getting the siren tuned in to perform at its max for the service of safety it will provide to the citizens.”
West added, “On Monday Sept. 23, 2013, I feel we have finally made some headway in answering to the cry of those families who lost lives and some whose lives were changed forever. The devastating tornado of Feb. 5, 2008, brought a punch that will be talked about for many years to come.”
Managing Editor Marie Corhern can be reached at 615-374-3556 or email [email protected].