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Franklin County Expanding Weather Siren Network

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Not only are residents expected to get their plans together this week for severe weather season, local governments are looking at their plans as well.

In Franklin County, leaders are in the process of beefing up their weather warning systems.  The outdoor weather warning siren network in the county is expanding over the next couple of months.

“We put them in the heaviest populated areas,” said Emergency Management Director Roy Gober. “We try to get the most people for the buck.”

Franklin County has been approved to purchase four outdoor sirens through FEMA’s Hazardous Mitigation Grant program.

Roy Gober says prior to April 27, 2011, residents didn’t pay much attention to warnings.

“Before, people would ignore and they had become complacent, but now they are actually taking it seriously,” explained Gober.

Franklin County has also been approved for grant money that will cover the costs of 14 community shelters.

Gober says at this point, three of the shelters have been installed in rural parts of the county.

County leaders hope residents will have their plan in place when severe weather hits, and knowing where to go is key.

“Being aware and taking it seriously when that siren goes off or when a tornado warning is issued," Gober said.

Four more community shelters will be built in the coming months.

FEMA grants cover 75 percent of the costs associated with the installation of outdoor weather sirens and community shelters.  The Franklin County Commission pays for the remaining 25 percent.