Tornado sirens crying wolf or saving lives?

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - When people in and around Columbus heard the tornado siren on Friday, many thought Muscogee County was crying wolf.

There was no tornado or severe weather warning issued.  But, Emergency Management Director Riley Land says 22 trees were down and lots of power lines and transformers were damaged in a part of Muscogee County. He tells News Leader 9, the siren button is never pushed without a good reason and this storm was on the move.

Riley Land said, "We can have a weather event in one portion of the county that is doing significant damage and then in another portion you may just have winds and may just have overcast."

Muscogee County's jurisdiction is 220 square miles.  When residents hear the siren, it means a ranking Columbus Police Officer or a Fire and EMS official has made the decision that someone somewhere in the county needs to get a heads up and take shelter.  "Those people have been trained and they are trusted to use judgement based on the totality of circumstances that we are facing. In my 19 years I have always seen that decision made erring on the side of safety," said Land.

Land also says, all citizens are warned even if they are not affected by the storm directly.

Hear the sirens sound here.

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