Breckenridge Texan

Stephens County, City of Breckenridge to hold tornado warning simulation on Friday morning

Stephens County, City of Breckenridge to hold tornado warning simulation on Friday morning
March 05
10:35 2020

On Friday morning, March 6, tornado sirens will wail and fire trucks will be dispatched to different areas of Breckenridge with their sirens blasting special siren patterns as part of a tornado simulation drill conducted by the Stephens County emergency management team.

The drill is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

According to Stephens County Judge Michael Roach, who serves as the County’s emergency coordinator, the dispatch center at the Stephens County Law Enforcement Center will send out a “code red” announcing there is a test emergency simulation and that it is only a test.

At the same time, they will activate the tornado siren located at the Breckenridge Fire Station downtown, and fire trucks will be dispatched to run routes to different parts of the city with their sirens wailing to simulate notifying residents there is a tornado on the ground and to take immediate shelter.

Additionally, the Hubbard Creek Volunteer Fire Department will dispatch two fire trucks to Tanglewood Island with their sirens wailing in the same manner, as part of the simulation to warn residents on the island to take immediate shelter.

Roach said the warning is designed to be activated and alert people that a tornado has been reported on the ground by either the National Weather Service or a local storm spotter.

He said that although they have tested the warning siren at the fire station in recent years, no one can remember when they last had a full simulation like they have planned for Friday. He said these types of tests are important in being able to warn citizens to avoid tragic situations like what happened in Tennessee earlier in this week where 24 people were killed by tornadoes. Roach said the local emergency management team plans on conducting this type of simulation this time of year just before the beginning of the bad weather season.

Roach said they want to look at getting grants in the near future to pay for expanding the warning system with additional sirens located in other areas of the city and county in populated areas. He said, for example, there is a siren located on the water tower on the west end of town that is inoperable and for the cost of repairing the siren, they can replace it with a newer system.

Although there is no public shelter in Stephens County, Roach said that at the onset of hazardous weather, they will open the Stephens County Courthouse. However, he stressed that while the courthouse is well built, it does have four glass doorways located in the hallways that could be dangerous. He also stressed that once the sirens are activated in an actual emergency, citizens need to take immediate shelter where they are and not try to drive to courthouse.

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