Butler County gets new storm sirens

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Butler County like many areas in the Heartland continues to see new areas developed.

"It's definitely growing up around here," said Peter Tinsley, a resident. "There's a lot of construction."

Tinsley says it's hard to hear sirens from his house.

"I'll be honest, the one we had before you have to listen really close for you to hear it," Tinsley said.

But that's all going to change.

"Those speakers right there have a 5 mile radius," Emergency Management director Jeff Shawan said. "We know from Joplin that 3 to 5 minute warning is probably what saved hundreds of lives in Joplin."

Shawan and his team installed a siren off of Marble Hill Road in Butler County.

Tinsley, who also volunteers at the Red Cross, understands firsthand how important these sirens can be.

"Well I just worked a case where a tailor was totally destroyed," Tinsley said. "They had 11 minute notice. I believe it was your TV station that actually broadcasted that. But they had a friend that called them and with that notice they were able to get out. If they had not gotten out, they would have perished."

But installing one siren wasn't enough for Shawan. They installed another one near Walton Chapel in Cane Creek, Missouri. That brings the total sirens in Butler County to 15.

"It's a little like the game of golf," Shawan said. "There's not destination. You never get there. You just continually moving on."

"And that's what these sirens bring to Butler County," Tinsley said. "These sirens are going to save lives. There's no doubt about it."

These additions come with a warning though.

"Don't be afraid when you hear a noon time test on the first Monday of every month," Shawan said.

Shawan credits the community coming together to complete these projects. Butler County Health Department reached into their budget and helped pay for an entire siren.

"I think what's remarkable is Ozark Border donated every utility pole and the crew to dig and plant these sirens," Shawan said.

Shawan estimates that to be thousands of dollars and because the sirens are solar powered, they won't be making money off their efforts.

"Ozark Border is just a good community citizen that helped us out in a big way," Shawan said.

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