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Pike gets $87,000 grant for warning sirens

Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security recently awarded a $87,526 federal grant project to Pike County for the purchase and installation of five outdoor severe weather warning sirens on behalf of Governor Nathan Deal. Local EMA director Jim Totten applied for the grant and the sirens will be placed at the Williamson City Park, at the Molena Fire Station, at the recreation fields, at Pike County Schools and at Meansville City Hall. Pike County was eligible for the funds because it was one of the declared disaster counties by GEMA and FEMA during the 2014 ice storm. ’Because of this grant, every city will now have an outdoor warning siren. The recreation department and the schools will have larger sirens that can give pre-recorded messages. The plan for those two is that they would be set off not only during a tornado warning but also used for severe thunderstorm warnings and lightning,’ said Totten. ‘That way all outdoor activities in these locations could be stopped very quickly. We have also needed to upgrade our activation point for some time. This new equipment would be computerized and set off the sirens automatically for tornado warnings.’ The amount awarded includes a federal share of $65,645. The remainder will come from a state share of $8,752 and a local share of $13,129. This award is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The program provides funds to state agencies and local governments. HMPG projects reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from the effects of natural hazards by breaking the repetitive cycle of destruction and reconstruction. These funds were made possible as a result of the county’s participation and adoption of the Pike County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. ’FEMA will pay 75%, GEMA will pay 10% and Pike County will pay the other 15% of the cost. Each city and the school will pay their part,’ said Totten. ‘The city sirens cost $8,000 but the cities will only have to pay $1,200. The other sirens are more expensive but will still cost us much less than the retail price.’  As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMA/HS works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. Go to or download the free Ready Georgia app to get information on preparing for a disaster and developing a custom emergency plan and Ready kit. ’Sirens are an effective means to communicate warnings to the public when they are outside. When used in combination with a NOAA weather radio, registering landline and cell phone numbers with Pike County’s Code Red system and downloading the Ready Georgia app for alerts and warnings, residents can stay abreast of hazardous conditions related to severe weather and take the appropriate life-saving actions,’ said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth.

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