RINCON, GA (WTOC) - People in Rincon heard the new emergency sirens late Wednesday afternoon, and now many are wondering why and what exactly to do when they go off.
Our WTOC First Alert Weather team confirms that we were not under any tornado watches or warnings, so many were confused about how to react.
There were several reports that Effingham dispatch received a possible funnel cloud near Highway 21 and Ebenezer Road. However the National Weather Service never confirmed that, even though we did have strong storms roll through the area.
After talking with the director of Effingham Emergency Management, the director of the E-911 center and the Rincon Fire captain, I have learned that ultimately it is the fire department, the police or the city that make the call to activate the sirens.
The city got those four new sirens just about a year ago. They tell me they are still working out some of the bugs and trying to make sure they trigger the sirens only when necessary.
They tell me it is better to be safe than sorry, but also do not want to alarm people if there is no need.
Wednesday, the fire department triggered the alarm and in this case, the chief said it may not have been necessary. But when it comes to bad weather, seconds are everything. Unlike Chatham County, they activate the sirens in any sort of weather they feel is severe.
"We set it off yesterday because people were concerned that there were no severe weather warnings or things put out by the National Weather Service. We did it locally, we respond locally with funnel clouds, reported tornadoes. We sound it off with any severe weather with high winds and hail," said Cpt. Lou Reed, Rincon Fire Department.
The fire department says when citizens hear those sirens they should get inside immediately, and follow social media, us here at WTOC, or the city website for updates on the weather.
"There does not have to be a watch or a warning for us to set it off in case of a funnel cloud that's been spotted or severe weather cells that are fixing to arrive in our city. We set that off especially with storms with 70 mile an hour winds," said Cpt. Reed.
There are only four for the city of Rincon: Macomber Park, 9th Street near Middleground Road, Lost Plantation and one behind the Lowe's.