By Rita Cook /The Ellis County Press
OVILLA – Installed and tested and now ready to go. That is the status of the three new emergency sirens in Ovilla.
“After the December 2015 tornado we received requests from several citizens [at]city council meetings to review our sirens and add more if needed,” said Ovilla Mayor Richard Dormier.
“The fire department looked at sirens in adjacent areas as well as our own and made a recommendation to add three new sirens.”
The council included funds in this year’s fiscal budget and Dormier said staff was in instructed to install the new emergency equipment as soon as possible.
Installed on March 23, Ovilla City Manager Dennis Burn said these three new sirens have been added to the city’s existing one.
Being located at planned strategic locations in the city these solar powered sirens should give advance warning to those citizens outside advising them to take shelter from approaching weather danger.
The new sirens are located at Bryson Lane at Judy Drive by the new elementary school, East Highland east of FM 664 and at Cockrell Hill Road and Johnson Lane.
The existing siren is on the curve on FM 664.
Burn said at this time the sirens will only be used for high wind, hail and tornados.
“They [the sirens]have not been used for any warnings yet,” Burn said. “They have been activated for testing purposes.”
As for who makes the decision to sound the warning sirens that would be the North Ellis County Emergency Dispatch Center and the Ovilla Emergency Operations Center, according to Burn.
“Determination is made by storm progression information passed on to us by neighboring cities and counties plus information provided by the National Weather Service in Fort Worth,” Burn said.
The sirens were approved by the City Council as part of the FY 2016-2017 budget at a cost of $49,999.00 for labor, installation and equipment.
“Everyone should remember that although you may be able to hear the sirens in your house, they are intended as a warning for you to hear if you are outside,” Dormier concluded.
Burn did add that when the sirens were recently tested residents said it could also be heard inside people’s homes.