Small Town Needing New Siren

Small Town Needing New Siren
By: Erica Byfield

Hazel, KY - We're in the mist of severe weather season, and when sirens go off it's our cue to seek shelter.

But what if your town siren is too old and doesn't work properly?

That's a dilemma a few hundred people are dealing with in Western Kentucky.

"This is our old system as you can tell its very old just look at the box," pointed out Mayor Harold Pittman, "it works fine if you push the button, but like i said who wants to leave the comfort of their home and leave their family."

If a volunteer fire fighter doesn't brave the elements and push the button then the early 1950's Model Two doesn't make a pep.

People in Hazel agree this is a problem and the siren needs a upgrade.

"Not once did I ever hear a siren," said resident Julie Carson

"When it went off one time I was at home and I heard it," said resident Marla Thompson.

Teresa Carney hasn't heard the siren either. "I've never heard the siren... My mother lives on 1st street in hazel and my grandmothers lived here for years. So, for several years."

Mayor Harold Pittman tells me they have a new radio activated system, but it doesn't work.

So, Hazel still relies on someone pushing the button.

Pittman adds there are three ways to get a new system.

One, ask the volunteer fire department to pay for it.

Two, split the cost using both fire and city funds.

Or three use grant money.

"You may apply for the grant, get the grant and it still maybe another 2 years before you actually get the money and we don't really want that," added Pittman.

So far FEMA's not accepted the county's grant applications.

"I've tried 3 different times to get grants from FEMA to try to get money for smaller communities like hazel," said Calloway County Emergency Management Director Jeff Steen.

Until city or county can pay for a new siren system these Kentuckians may not even know severe weather's right around the corner.