Waveland fire chief says weather sirens are beneficial

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - You can get weather warnings from all sorts of modern day technology. One source that's remained a constant, however, is the weather alert siren.

This type of alert system has warned citizens of approaching danger for decades. Waveland Fire Chief Mike Smith says the warnings come in handy seeing that in those situations every second counts.

"Typically down here the tornadoes begin in the Southwest and end in the Northeast and sometimes very rapidly. The time of issuing a warning can sometimes be minutes, sometimes seconds," Chief Mike Smith said.

Smith says Waveland currently has three sirens that were installed less than a year ago. They've been activated three separate times and cover about 80 percent of the city.

Though proven effective, not every municipality on the coast has an alert system. Some of the coastal citizens who do, find comfort in knowing they're there.

"They [other cities] do need them. If I lived in that community I would talk to the mayor about getting some because it does save lives. It really does," Greg Cates said.

Jacques Mitchell says seeing others dealing with natural disasters, he knows any kind of warning would help.

"I've seen the people who have had to deal with tornadoes and so many of them have said 'all of a sudden it hit.' Those extra 30 seconds or whatever could make a difference," Michell said.

There are cities and counties in South Mississippi that already have tornado sirens up and running. However, they are relatively new in this area. Chief Smith says he's already seen the benefit in having the system in place and he hopes to add more.

"We have put in applications for two additional sirens which would give us 100 percent coverage. That's what's good about these sirens. It prompts you to get inside and see what the issues are," Smith said.

If you live in an area that does not have tornado sirens, but you have a smartphone or tablet, you can get warnings from the National Weather Service as soon as they're issued through the WLOX 24/7 Weather App. It's free and available by searching the Apple App store or the Google Play store.

If you don't have a smartphone, you can receive the same alerts by text message. You can sign up by visiting: http://www.wlox.com/category/217775/preference-center

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