During the Oct. 5 regular meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, the need to purchase weather alert radios for Pike County Emergency Management was discussed.
Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett informed the court of a Hazard Mitigation grant that is currently available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase weather alert radios.
“On a list, given to me by former judge executive Wayne T. Rutherford in his last term, the top 10 counties with federal disaster declarations, and this is from a period of 1953 through 2013, Pike county is number 7 out of the nation for disasters,” Tackett said. “Number 7, now let that sink in a little bit.
“Even though we have the RAVE alert system and a little over 3,200 people signed up for that, it’s still not enough,” Tackett explained. “And there’s really not a good way to get a warning out to people.”
Tackett said that, with weather alert radios and the systems the county already has in place, his office could set the radios off along with TVs to get warnings out to people.
“The weather radio is a silent partner sitting in a house quiet unless it’s set off by the weather service or by us,” Tackett said. “It will give an alert and a voice to tell them what is going on and what they need to do.”
Tackett said his office is looking at the most prone areas to a disaster first in the county to get the radios out to.
“That could include Pond Creek, Shelby Creek and Johns Creek as those are some of the areas that have been hard hit recently,” Tackett said. “Blackberry would be added to that list too.”
Tackett told the court he would like to start a grant for 5,000 radios which would run $124,500 on the estimate currently on hand.
“This would have to be bid out once the grant is approved,” Tackett said.
Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones explained the breakdown of the grant.
“FEMA puts in 75 percent, the state match and the county would put in $16,185 but that could be in kind,” Jones said. “So we wouldn’t have to be out of pocket for anything except for labor, cost distribution and things like that.”
Jones also suggested that Tackett begin another push to get people to sign up for the RAVE alert system.
“We have 58,000 people in the county and we have only 3,200 signed up currently,” Jones said. “The RAVE alert could be a lifesaver if there is a tornado or flash flood event or an impoundment failure or chemical spill like with the train derailment.
“I do think this weather radio program is a great idea and could be a life saver,” Jones said.
The court voted unanimously to approve an application to apply for the FEMA grant.
People wanting more information about signing up for the RAVE alert system can call the Pike County Emergency Management Office at, (606) 437-4126, or check out their Facebook page.