In some areas of the county, residents likely never hear the sirens meant to warn them when severe weather is approaching.
That came as a surprise to Katie Prine, who serves on the Amity Fire Protection Board, when she learned the Amity area didn’t have storm sirens. The board and community raised money to buy one, but areas in the county still are without service, she said.
Now, a local group has made it a project to find out where each of the county’s sirens are and what areas are underserved.
Prine and seven other members of a Leadership Johnson County group are doing a project that will map out where each siren is located in the county and also show how far the sound travels. That will help identify areas without a siren, or areas where multiple sirens can be heard, she said. The group is part of this year’s Leadership Johnson County class, an adult community leadership program.
They also want to include other information with the map that the community would need in an emergency, such as where emergency shelters are located, she said.
Next month, the group plans to meet with local officials, emergency workers and emergency management officials to share their map, and also discuss any changes that could be made based on what they show, such as where a new siren could be added or where one could be moved if it is too close to another siren, she said.
Their goal is to try to find out what areas need more sirens to serve the homes and businesses already there, and development that could come in the future, she said.
“We think this can be a really great tool as the county considers future development in areas,” she said.
The map will be online and can be shared by police and fire departments and the emergency management agency. Residents can also look up their address on the map to see what sirens are closest to them and where the closest emergency shelter is located, Prine said. The group will also include other information about the sirens, such as if it has a battery back-up, she said.
The map can continue to be updated as new sirens are added, or if any are moved, she said.