People who live in rural areas often don't have the benefit of a siren system to provide an early warning. Now, that concern is a thing of the past for the community of Scranton.
The city of Scranton received a Rural Community Grant in May of this year, in the amount of $10,750, to install new storm sirens which will be ready for testing
Asa Hutchinson presented grants totaling $586,633.14 to 49 cities and counties throughout Arkansas at a ceremony held May 16 at the annual Arkansas Rural Development Conference, held at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Rural Services grants fall into one of three programs: the Rural Community Grant Program, the County Fair Building Grant Program, and the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant Program. All require a 50 percent matching grant to be eligible for the programs.
Applicants from incorporated towns of less than 3,000 in population and unincorporated rural areas are eligible for up to $15,000 in matching funds under the program for community development and fire protection projects.
The new storm sirens will be activated by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in the event of an issued tornado warning.
Scranton Mayor David Corbitt said, “We are still working out details with the Sheriff’s Office at this time.”
Mayor Corbitt said that the new siren will be a 360-degree radius up to one mile in distance and that protocols are still being worked out to ensure the best procedures are in place.
Previously, due to know sirens, the community had no prior storm protocols.
“Everyone was pretty much on their own when it came to finding out when severe weather was approaching. The school opened up a new storm shelter last year which is very nice and has been wonderful for the community residents.”
Mayor Corbitt said that anytime there is a threat of severe weather, the school and city officials make sure that the safe room is open to the public.
“The community and the school uses it anytime there is a severe weather threat. It has been very useful and it is large enough for the entire school population to fit in.”
Corbitt said the hope of the new sirens is to make the town safer.”Hopefully we will never have a severe storm come through here, but if one does, we hope this will help to alert people and have time to take precautions and be safe.”
Mayor Corbitt said that there has not been any major storms in town that has caused injury, but Scranton did receive wind damage and downed trees earlier this year from a storm.
The sirens will be working as soon as all protocols are complete, which will be within the next couple weeks. The sirens will only sound during a tornado warning, but Corbitt said the public should be prepared for weekly tests on Wednesday at high noon.