After years in the making, the city of Ruston has tornado sirens up and running -- making it the only city in Northeast Louisiana with such a system.
The city spent the winter installing thirteen tornado sirens through out the city.
"The good thing, this is an expandable system, it could be expanded into the parish," said Ruston Police Chief Stephen Rogers.
Rogers said once an alert comes through for a tornado, large hail, or winds exceeding 58 miles per hour, dispatch at the Ruston Police Department will set off the sirens.
"I know a lot of what happened in other areas, people hear the alarms and come outside," said Rogers. "The alarm means you take cover."
The sirens are tested silently every week and tested audibly once a month to ensure performance.
City officials say if it's used in the severe weather threat this week, it will be the first time used in a real event since its installation.
For folks at home, there are several ways to stay on top of alerts when dangerous weather is around the corner.
Kip Franklin with the Lincoln parish homeland security says for the rest of the area, a new system is making it's way into Louisiana, called Alert FM.
The company, based out of Jackson, Mississippi, Is working with the Bayou State-- and has given 50 specially programmed radios to every parish. The radios use local radio towers to distribute the signal.
"Those receivers are capable of getting a text message with a little alarm that goes off, and you silence the alarm and read a text message that usually comes from the National Weather Service signifying severe weather for your area," said Franklin.
Homeland security officials say parishes have decided to disperse them to schools, town halls, and nursing homes.
Tracey Hilburn, director for Ouachita Parish Homeland Security, says they will distribute the new radios to schools in the parish over the next two weeks.
Right now, the Alert FM company is even working with local retailers to make available for purchase by the public.
Other methods homeland security officials suggest is getting a weather radio for $20-$30, and signing up for text and email alerts through your local parish Homeland Security office.
No matter what method you use, security officials say they just want everyone to heed warnings.
"If you get plenty of warning and you now that there's some severe weather coming with potential tornadoes or damaging winds, then you have time to take shelter," said Franklin.
Find Your Local Parish Homeland Security Office
Louisiana Homeland Security
Lincoln Parish Text and Email Alerts or call 318-514-6450
Concordia Parish Alerts
Ouachita Parish Homeland Security
Jackson Parish Code Red Alerts
West Monroe Alerts
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