Eaton County to get upgrade new siren system

Posted at 3:43 PM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 15:43:03-04

A new tool will let Eaton County dispatchers activate tornado sirens throughout the area with the press of just... "One button," Michael Armitage, the director of Eaton County Central Dispatch said.

Before this program, firefighters had to go out to their stations and manually activate these sirens. Now that's easier said than done in the middle of a tornado.

"Winds pick up, weather turns bad, the amount of run volume in most agencies increases,” Delta Township Fire Chief John Clark said. “And that takes those resources out of those buildings."

Chief Clark says it's not uncommon for the entire force to be out in a storm, investigating downed wires and clearing fallen trees. He says giving the dispatchers the ability to activate the sirens is going to be huge.

"We want our ambulances and fire trucks and doing what they're supposed to do, rather than having somebody stay back at the station to activate that siren," Clark said.

Eaton County Central Dispatch is manned 24-7. And according to the director Michael Armitage, they're often the first to hear of any severe weather alerts. That means the community will know there's danger as soon as possible.

"I absolutely think this is something that could save lives, you know being able to get that warning out timely is critical. Being able to get people inside and able to take shelter is critical," Armitage said.

They've brought delta township fire on board with the program first. There are still some tests dispatch need to run, but the system should work in delta by July. They've got seven other Eaton County communities on the list and are hoping to have their systems running within a year.