Weather sirens back up and running in Chatham County; new plan in place

Chatham County warning sirens back up and running

CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A tornado ripped through parts of the islands in Chatham County last weekend, leaving damage at some businesses and at the Savannah Yacht Club.

The computer system that was down for maintenance and kept sirens from going off during the tornado is now back up and running. Chatham County leaders talked about future options during Friday’s commission meeting, so that the sirens are always ready when needed.

Last weekend, many residents on Wilmington Island were upset that no sirens went off when they were supposed to. Friday morning’s meeting was a way for commissioners and CEMA to talk about what happened and to come up with a backup plan.

4th District Island County Commissioner Patrick Farrell says he was very concerned that the outdoor sirens the county commission has funded for years did not perform. He says tornadoes happen so fast that people need warnings as quickly as possible.

One plan is already in the works. Farrell says they are already bringing in another company to work with the county’s IT department to hook up the new system. He also says the maintenance that was being performed when the tornado hit was not communicated to them nor to residents.

Farrell says for now, they’ll still keep the current siren system company.

“We’re going to go forward with this existing corporation, but we’re also going to incorporate another company for backup so that if for some reason one goes down, the internet goes down, whatever, then there’s another source to turn these sirens on at the appropriate time and place,” he said.

The new system is expected to be up and running by late next week. CEMA says that in the event that Chatham County is under a tornado watch this weekend, they’ll have people in place to set off the sirens manually if needed.

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