It’s tornado season and the village of Groveport is working to enhance its ability to warn residents in case a twister appears.
Groveport currently has two outdoor warning sirens. One is located behind 4465 S. Hamilton Road and the other is in the area of Main Street and Hendron Road.
"Each siren is estimated to cover a radius of up to one mile, depending on weather conditions," said Groveport Police Chief Gary York. "During the statewide test on March 26, the two sirens located in the village went off without incident and performed as expected."
But York and village officials believe the two sirens are not enough to properly cover the town, so Groveport will be adding two more outdoor warning sirens which will help cover areas within the growing town.
The sirens will be purchased from the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security at a cost of $19,985 each. The sirens will be paid for out of the Groveport police department’s 2008 budget, which was approved by Groveport Village Council.
According to York, once the order for the two additional sirens has been placed, it is estimated it will take around 12 weeks for the sirens to be delivered.
"Depending on how wet the ground is, installation could take longer because of the heavy equipment necessary to install the poles and sirens," said York.
York said he would meet with Art Baker from Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security in the coming weeks to discuss the locations for the new sirens.
York cautioned that citizens should not rely solely on the sirens to warn them of danger.
"Outdoor warning sirens are not meant to replace other warning devices," said York. "During severe weather conditions, having weather alert radios in homes and places of business, as well as monitoring local radio and television stations, is always a good idea."
York added that, besides tornado warnings, outdoor warning sirens are also used for hazardous material situations and other severe weather.
Tornadoes can strike with little or no warning, so be prepared! These life saving steps should be taken so you can react quickly in case of tornado:
•Planning what to do in the event a tornado watch or warning is issued.
•Purchase a weather radio.
•Designate tornado shelter and route to it.
As tornado season approaches, you should design a tornado plan and designate a safety shelter. Once the plan is designed, several practice drills should be done. If a tornado warning is issued for your location, take the following steps immediately.
•Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building.
•If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
•Get away from the windows
•Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
•Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
•Use arms to protect head and neck.
•If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.
(Source: The Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security Web site.)