Local officials evaluate system to ensure public safety following severe weather events across the state
SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (December 17, 2021) — In the wake of severe weather that has devastated much of western Kentucky, the City of Somerset and Pulaski County Government are partnering to test the community’s tornado siren system.
The test will be conducted at noon (12 p.m.) Wednesday, December 22, 2021. At that time, Pulaski County 911 will sound tornado sirens countywide and send out Code Red Weather Alert warnings to subscribers notifying them of the system test.
Residents and business owners are encouraged to use this test as an opportunity to review any tornado safety plans with their families and employees.
The cluster of tornados that hit Kentucky Dec. 10-11, destroying entire towns and thousands of homes, is now the deadliest in the state’s history. The death toll as of Dec. 17 was 77 people.
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said while the community is prepared for severe weather, this tragedy has given local officials a reason to evaluate systems that are in place and ensure they are working effectively for everyone in Pulaski County.
“As we continue to pray for all those affected by the storms that ravaged western Kentucky and pull together as a community to help support relief efforts, we must also continue to safeguard our people,” Keck said. “This weather event was the impetus for refocusing on our systems, strategy and equipment to assure our residents we have done everything in our power to protect them. Public safety is our No. 1 priority, and we will always strive for continuous improvement in this area.”
As part of the test, first responders and representatives from 911 and local law enforcement are reviewing the tornado siren map. They will place individuals throughout the county strategically during the test to ensure sirens can be appropriately heard.
Somerset Police Chief William Hunt encouraged residents to sign up for the Code Red Alert system if they haven’t already. This system will notify subscribers by phone call, text and/or e-mail about emergencies ranging from severe weather to utilities issues like boil water advisories and water main breaks. He also encouraged residents who have smartphones to make sure they turn on notifications for all their weather-related apps.
“Severe weather events that happen in the middle of the night can present significant challenges if residents are asleep and unaware,” Hunt said. “This is why our officers often drive through neighborhoods with sirens on when a tornado warning is issued, so that hopefully we can alert residents who are sleeping. Being prepared and signing up for as many notifications as possible significantly increases the chances that you have time to get somewhere safe before severe weather strikes.”
To sign up for Code Red alerts, visit https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/B04A9DD4712C. Residents can create an account or continue to enroll as a guest to sign up.