MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - "One of the things we saw five years ago is that tornado sirens save lives," said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong.
But after five years, it was time for an upgrade. "In the old system you had to manually activate all of the sirens," said Strong. That turned on all 128 sirens at the same time, giving many people a false alarm.
"People in the southern part of the county were probably disregarding warnings, because the danger was in the northern part of the county," said Jeff Birdwell, Madison County EMA Director.
A $750,000 digital upgrade is changing that. All 128 tornado sirens across Huntsville, Madison and Madison County now receive their warnings directly from the National Weather Service and automatically sound the alarm.
Except this time, if you hear the sirens ring; "We now have a system that issues warnings in a polygon, rather than turning on every siren in Madison County. The only time the siren will go off is if you are in the path of that tornado," said Strong.
This is just one puzzle piece to keep everyone safe, and give you notice to find shelter. "We are more prepared today than we've ever been before for a tornado outbreak in Madison County," said Strong.