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Emergency officials warn to sign up for emergency alerts ahead of tornado season

Posted at 8:55 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 04:58:55-05

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Some survivors of the deadly tornado in Tennessee say cellphone alerts saved their lives. Not all rural areas have loud outdoor sirens. That's why Eaton County Central Dispatch is reminding people of the importance of signing up for emergency alerts.

"Most of your rural areas both in Eaton County and elsewhere, just because of the population, they don't have of sirens," said Michael Armitage, Director of the Eaton County Central Dispatch.

Brookfield Township is one example. There are 39 outdoor sirens in Eaton County, but Armitage says they're not designed to be heard indoors.

"The outdoor warning sirens have the purpose of notifying you throughout the outdoors. So, if you're inside your house, inside of work, those sirens aren't necessarily intended to be able to be heard inside," said Armitage.

Emergency officials in Tennessee say 24 people were killed from the tornado near Nashville on Tuesday that hit in the middle of the night.

Armitage says now is the time to remind people that tornadoes happen in Michigan and now is the time to sign up for emergency alerts.

"Getting that information in a timely manner can save your life, whether it be you need to evacuate, or these emergency alerts, or anything from a tornado warning to an active shooter situation," said Armitage.

He says they often come with little warning, so it's important to be prepared and have a plan in place.

"They can pop up especially in the Spring and Summer with little notice," said Armitage. "Once we get into late March especially, we're starting to get into the season where we can see that more volatile weather. See the potential for more storms and severe weather and tornadoes."

You can sign up for the Eaton 9-1-1 emergency 'Rave Alerts' by texting "EATON" to 67283 or download the Smart 911 app.

Michigan will have a statewide tornado drill on March 25.

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