EMA: Behind the scenes during severe weather - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

EMA: Behind the scenes during severe weather

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -

Weather has definitely slammed parts of Alabama and Georgia this week.  During all those times, local emergency management agencies were on the job.

"We have people in place to monitor the weather as well as the radio.  We've been in constant contact with our first responders, our school systems, and our local government," said Russell County Emergency Management Director, William Alexander.

Alexander says they are in contact with the National Weather Service out of Birmingham during severe weather by phone and radio.  That way they can know where the storm is moving.

"If we have first responders already in the area, we can see on our radars, and we can push them out to that particular area to look for any inclement weather," said Alexander.

They also have almost 40 outdoor weather sirens that will go off if there is a tornado warning.  They use a polygon system that only sets off the sirens designated in a box.

"We won't be setting those off in areas where the sun's shining and there's no danger.  We're only going to be activating those sirens when there is a danger," said Deputy Director Bob Franklin.

If you live in Russell County, you probably hear them test those sirens every Saturday.

"We can also poll them.  We've got a radio, and we can call each one of them.  We do that once a week as well, and ask them, 'Are you okay?' And, they reply back, 'Yes, I'm working' or 'The rotators not working,' or 'The batteries are weak.'  They'll actually tell us what's wrong so we can go repair them," said Franklin.

Franklin warns that the sirens are meant for outdoor warnings and not necessarily for inside your home.  For your safety, he suggests purchasing a portable weather radio.

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