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Residents of Bedford have an adequate storm warning system in the event of a tornado, according to Trimble County Emergency Management Director Ronnie McCane.
McCane clarified the issue in a telephone interview Monday. McCane addressed a story in last week’s edition of The Trimble Banner about the Bedford Fire Department seeking financial assistance from the Bedford City Commission to repair a siren damaged during the March tornado in Trimble County.
Bedford firefighter Lt. Will McCoy approached the commissioners on behalf of the fire department for financial assistance toward repair of the siren.
“During the tornado the warning siren that’s beside the fire department burned up some transistors inside the siren controller,” McCoy told the commission. He had approached the county about assistance with the repair of the siren, he said, but “the county Emergency Management does not want to put any money towards repairing it.”
“Their siren is not totally burned up,” McCane said. “They can still operate it manually but it won’t work automatically with the dispatched signal from the state police. Other than that there’s nothing wrong with it.”
McCane said he had been approached by representatives of the fire department for financial assistance to repair the siren.
“I personally can’t write checks,” McCane said. “It’s not that the county doesn’t want to help. I put them in touch with a contractor who could give them an estimate of what it would cost to make the repair. I offered to help them try to get a grant to repair the siren but it’s not a guarantee that we could get a grant. If we did it would be a matching grant and we would still have to come up with half the money locally. We do need that siren in the city.”
McCane said the county is not planning to install a siren at the new library as had been stated by the firefighter during the Bedford Commission meeting.
“I don’t know where that came from,” he said. “There is one going in near the sewer plant in Milton. The grant for that has been approved, we’re just waiting for the check to be able to get started.”
Repair of the existing siren is estimated to cost $4,144, McCoy had said. Replacement with a new siren would be in the range of $13,000.
The Bedford Commissioners voted during their April 16 meeting to advance a budgeted allotment of $12,000 to the fire department for use as it sees fit.
Meanwhile, McCane said the residents of Bedford would have ample warning in the event of a severe storm.
“We have warning sirens in place at the high school and at the middle school,” he said. “The siren at the firehouse works. It’s just not set up right.”