February 14, 2013 10:23:50 AM
Carl Smith - email@example.com
Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Agency and Starkville officials secured a grant which will fund the installation of five emergency sirens in the city.
OCEMA Director Jim Britt and Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill confirmed the city landed an almost-$100,000 hazard mitigation grant through the Federal Emergency Management Association to cover purchasing and installing new emergency sirens. The city will match 5 percent of the grant's cost.
Spruill said the Starkville Board of Aldermen authorized the match and Mayor Parker Wiseman signed off on the agreement. The city, she said, is awaiting the grant's delivery and should start its work within a month.
Starkville faced continuing operational issues associated with the age and reliability of some of its emergency network, Spruill said. Some alert sirens, she said, are about 15 years old.
"We were constantly spending money to get those sirens repaired and were unsuccessful (with long-term fixes)," she said.
Britt, who worked for the past seven years to secure the grant, said the upgrades will bolster Starkville's emergency warning system.
"These upgrades will hopefully fill in some spots where we needed more coverage. The city has a goodnetwork, but this will make it even stronger, more manageable and more efficient," he said. "We'll be able to refine decibel levels and situate our sirens to maximize them and get as much (sound) penetration inside buildings as possible.
"It's taken a while to get pushed through, but I'm proud of securing this grant," Britt added. "Persistence paid off."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch