Safety director responds to Kennett, MO residents concerned with - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Safety director responds to Kennett, MO residents concerned with timing of tornado sirens

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

If severe weather is headed your way, you hope you get plenty of warning. But some residents in Dunklin County say they didn't get enough warning when severe weather hit their area over the weekend.

Kennett's Director of Public Safety John Mallott said, despite what some residents think, there weren't any hold ups when it cane to sounding the tornado sirens Saturday after a tornado watch had been issued for the area. 

"It wasn't delayed," Mallott said. "Where you look at it, we were reported that the tornado was between Kennett and Senath along down 108 highway."

John Mallott said he's the guy in charge of sounding the tornado sirens.

Mallott said on Saturday they were hearing reports of a tornado in Arbyrd, just 15 miles from Kennett, but said there's a procedure he's required to go through before alerting residents.

"When we got the notification, it's no different than when we get the notification for a fire," he said. "You don't immediately have a fire truck on your door step, it takes a few minutes to get people into place and getting ready to respond."

On Saturday night, John Daniel never heard a siren, but said he actually saw a tornado on the ground. He ran to nearby businesses to warn others.

"Kennett really need to work on their siren system because that could've been really bad if that tornado hit the town and actually did stay on the ground," Daniel said. "That really did worry me that those sirens were not going off."

Mallott said he will always make sure there's a real risk to residents before putting them on high alert.

"I've activated the sirens before and we've had multiple accidents with people rushing to get to a safe place and it does cause some air of confusion," Mallott said. "So we want to make sure that when we set them sirens off that we have some type of confirmation."

Mallott also recommends everyone have multiple trusted sources of information during severe weather.

"The outdoor warning sirens are your last resort for notification," he said. "Don't reply upon the tornado sirens as your sole means of notifications."

There is also a free sky warn training program offered to anyone in March to become a certified severe weather spotter. 

If you want to attend the program hosted in Memphis, Tenn., give Mallott a call at 573-888-9001.

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