Last month, contractors working with the city of Oneonta, FEMA, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security installed a new outdoor warning siren at the city’s public works complex on Jack Fendley Drive.
The new siren’s sound will be markedly different from the winding civil defense siren that warned citizens of approaching storms.
The old siren, which was moved from the old city hall to the Jack Fendley Drive location in 1993, was used in the 1960s and 1970s to notify volunteer firemen in the area of an emergency and was their signal to report to the fire station for duty.
The new siren is radio controlled and will sound simultaneously with other sirens across the county when activated by the Blount County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
While this new siren should make outdoor warnings more efficient, residents are reminded to be proactive and not rely on the sirens as their primary, or only, source of weather warnings. Experts remind that NOAA weather radios are an excellent early-warning system and they can be programmed through a local fire department or the EMA office.