This is a point of discussion in Polk County following the devastating tornado that hit Adairsville on Jan. 30.
Local residents are also remembering other tornadoes that brought damage to homes and property.
During 2006, an F1 tornado tore through the area of Pearidge and New Prospect roads. Several homes were damaged in that incident. In 2008, an F3 tornado did extensive damage to property in the Polk and Floyd Wax Road/Live Oak communities.
Randy Lacey, Polk’s public safety director, said no system is 100 percent accurate but believes one of the best is Code Red, which was implemented in 2009. He said 911 activates this system once the National Weather Service initiates a warning.
“To me, it is a system that works,” he said. “I received a tornado warning for the Cedartown area while attending a training class in Forsyth.”
Lacey encourages Polk residents to register for Code Red. Out of a population of about 42,000, only about 1,000 have registered for the weather alert system.
With Code Red, participants can be notified within minutes of a National Weather Service warning, issued for not only tornadoes, but also severe thunderstorms and flash floods.
To receive these notifications, however, you must take a few moments to register online at http://www.polkgeorgia.org/
Polk residents are allowed to register one primary phone number, and one alternate phone number per person. Accommodations for the hearing impaired (TDD/TTY) can also be made during registration.
Meanwhile, Polk is also phasing out its aging warning system. The price tag of replacing a siren is from $17,000 to $25,000, according to Lacey.
Deputy Fire Chief Randall Chupp said Rockmart has sirens located on Lane Street, off Highway 278 near the waste treatment plant, Elm Street Middle School and Ridgewood Drive and Nathan Dean Parkway.
Warnings are set off via a radio signal after the 911 Center has received notice of an approaching storm. These sirens could be activated from the fire station or from the field. There is also an active maintenance program in Rockmart. This includes silent testing throughout the year.
Chupp also encourages Polk residents to register for Code Red. “The siren warns people who are outside,” he said. “Code Red is designed to reach people no matter if they are indoors or out.”