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Joplin upgrades it's emergency warning system - KOAM TV 7

Joplin upgrades it's emergency warning system

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Upgrades to the Joplin Emergency Warning System are complete and ready to use.  Severe weather warnings are used for our safety but in years past many people ignored the sirens or did not take them seriously.

With the improvements the Joplin Emergency Management hopes residents are more prepared.

The traditional sirens you're used to hearing are now being tested in a different way in Joplin.

"The outdoor warning system that we have today is so much better than what we've had in times past," says Keith Stammer, the Director of Joplin Emergency Management.

Since the 2011 tornado improvements have come to the city's alert system.  The first test of the 32 alarm system is complete but what residents may not know is that thanks to upgrades, the alarms are being tested daily.

"Now we have two way radios on each of our sirens - we can pull them remotely, in fact we test them silently every morning at 6 a.m. - 'are you there? do your batteries work? how are things going?' and it will send back a notice - 'yes, I'm alive' and 'I do work' or 'I've got a battery problem,'" says Stammer.

Residents we spoke with say they rarely paid attention to the sirens before the Joplin tornado.

"It seemed like they'd do it just for seemingly things that it didn't really matter," says Joplin resident Deborah Morris.

But with the utilization of technology alerts can come at a simple push of a button.

"We are able, through the city's website, to send out notification to people via their cell phone or by text to let them know of any weather updates that we might have," says Stammer.  "It also publishes to the city's Facebook page and to Twitter."

Currently entering the severe weather season, residents are now more prepared.

"I feel like I'm going to take it a lot more seriously now," says Joplin resident Jacob Stockton.  "I feel the need to pay attention every time I hear the noise and all that.  So I think other people are seeing it the same way."

This year's season is the first the improved system will be ready for activation.

Approximately $200,000 was spent last summer improving the system.

Stammer tells us he is confident the alarms will work in any severe weather situation.

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