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Lowndes County receives funds for emergency sirens

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

Lowndes County has been awarded $5,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to install four new emergency sirens throughout the county.

The announcement came during an emergency preparedness report given by EMA Director Walter Hill to the County Commission during the June 14 meeting.

The sirens will be distributed between the areas of Lowndesboro, Black Belt, Collirene and Braggs. Lowndes County currently has seven warning sirens.

Hill offered tips to the citizens of the community in regards to being prepared in case of a natural disaster.

“I cannot stress enough to the citizens of the county to make every preparation for a 72-hour sustainability,” said Hill.

Having items such as flashlights, batteries, portable radios and televisions, canned goods, blankets, stockpiles of water and a plan of action “will be essential to every household in the event we are hit by a tornado of any category.”

Hill will be holding public forums throughout the county and offered to meet with any community that would like additional “awareness and preparedness information.”

Lowndes County has been struck by different series of tornadoes in the past 10 years causing flooding in specific geographical areas, downed power lines leading to a loss of electricity to some households and downed trees blocking traffic and right-of-ways.

“Flooding is a major concern,” said Hill. “Over the past three years we have seen a significant increase of areas impacted by moderate to heavy flooding.”

During the height of several storm seasons the abundance of flooded areas has seen some property owners rescued from their homes.

The series of storms that have plagued Lowndes County’s past are a lesson learned which have resulted in an increased amount and level of first responder training and drills, said Hill.

County Commissioner Marzett Thomas praised Hill’s efforts with various agencies throughout the county in regards to the immediacy of response.

“He has done a good job preparing.  He has generators in place,” said Thomas. “There is no reason it should not be a smooth transaction if and when Walter is needed.”