BY JUSTIN MINYARD
National Weather Service has officially deemed Feb. 3-7 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week. The West Point Fire Department will be in on the action as it sets off all county sirens and weather boxes come 9:15 a.m. Feb. 5 for a statewide tornado drill, which will also have local schools participate by conducting a tornado drill of their own.
For the WPFD, setting off all of the sirens in the county is routine, according to West Point-Clay County Emergency Management Director Kerrie Gentry-Blissard. The department tests all of its 15 sirens at noon on the first Saturday of each month.
â€ś(The sirens are set off) just to make people aware of weather situations and to make them think that if a siren is going off, they need to take cover,â€ť said Blissard. â€śWe donâ€™t set them off unless we have a warning for Clay County.â€ť
But Feb. 5 is more than just the county testing its sirens. WPFD staff will also test area weather boxes, which are installed in all of the countyâ€™s schools along with several businesses. Messages bearing warnings of severe weather can be easily transmitted to schools and businesses in possession of a weather box by the push of a button, according to Blissard.
Blissard said familiarization with the sound of a tornado siren â€”Â and the message it carries â€” is vital for the safety of individuals countywide.
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