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Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week

Tornadoes can develop in just 10-15 minutes. Be sure you a severe weather plan in case one develops. This photo shows an F5 Tornado approaching Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007. Photo by Justin1569 at en.wikipedia

Tornadoes can develop in just 10-15 minutes. Be sure you a severe weather plan in case one develops. This photo shows an F5 Tornado approaching Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007. Photo by Justin1569 at en.wikipedia

Tornado siren testing the first Friday of each month

From the Kent County Sheriff Department

Last year, storms and severe weather injured seven people and left $130 million in damage across the State of Michigan. Kent County has a system of sirens meant to alert residents of high winds or tornadoes. Starting last Friday, April 1 and continuing on the first Friday of every month at 12:00 noon, through October, you should hear tornado alarm testing in your Kent County home or business. If you don’t hear the sirens at noon, please contact your local township or city office.

Be vigilant whenever severe weather is in the forecast. While no location is completely safe from a tornado or severe thunderstorm, it is important to seek all possible protection. April 10-16 is Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week. “This is a great time to review your severe weather plan, refresh your supplies and make sure you are prepared,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Check your flashlight and stock up on fresh batteries. Homes should have enough fresh drinking water for three days, canned food items and a can opener, an all-weather radio, and a first aid kit.”

Plan in advance for disasters to know how you and your family will get to a safe place, how to contact each other and what to do in different situations. Determine a location where you would meet in an emergency, both near your house and further away, in case your neighborhood streets are closed. If a disaster occurs, it may be easier to make a phone call to a designated out-of-town contact, as phone lines may be overwhelmed. Make sure that person is aware that he or she is the designated contact. You should have a disaster plan for your pets as well.

Many smartphone apps can keep you notified of weather watches and warnings. Severe weather watch means the potential exists for the development of storms/tornados. You can continue your normal activities, but be mindful of changing conditions. Severe weather warning mean that storms are imminent

or occurring. Move indoors to a place of safety. If it is a Tornado Warning, take shelter in a location on the lowest level of the building, like the basement, or in a small, windowless room at the innermost part of the building.

Let us know about the sirens in your community: take our survey at http://vrm.cc/kcsirens.

To learn more about Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week 2016 and what to do in an emergency, download the packet: Severe weather awareness.

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City gets new warning siren

By Judy Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

Residents of Cedar Springs now have a brand new siren to warn them of severe weather this spring and summer. It was installed Tuesday at North Park, at the north end of Cedar Springs.

The city sought a grant for the siren through Kent County a year and a half ago, after the original siren tower outside the Cedar Springs Library was deemed unsafe. Burns said they were notified last week that they had received the $19,900 grant for the siren tower, which would be turned on through Kent County’s central dispatch. The old siren was manually turned on at the pole.

A poll on the city’s website showed that residents are in favor of continuing the tradition of blowing the siren at noon everyday. That is not covered in the grant, however, and the city will cover the $500 cost with money from their 2007 bond proceeds.

According to specs, the siren will be heard over most of Cedar Springs, including all the way to White Creek to the west, and Ritchie to the east. To the south, however, it will only cover to just north of Dio Drive. “We hope to someday qualify for another siren to cover the south end (of the city),” said Burns. She previously explained that the siren was erected at North Park to cover the area with the greatest density.

The old siren was scheduled to be torn down immediately, and possibly given to the Cedar Springs Historical Society if they want it.

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