In wake of deadly storms, is it time for more emergency sirens?

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In the wake of eight tornados that touched down across the commonwealth on Wednesday, many are now wondering, is there a need for more tornado sirens?

At VCU, there isn’t an inch of campus or surrounding area that isn’t within an earshot of an emergency siren. VCU police say they activated the siren this past Wednesday when tornado warnings blanked the area.

“VCU maintains 10 sirens over the two campuses in downtown Richmond,” Adam Crowe with VCU Police said. “If it’s an ongoing life-threatening situation we sound the siren as a part of our overall strategy.”

Thankfully, no tornadoes touched down in the City of Richmond. But in the Town of Waverly in Sussex County, where an EF-1 tornado did touch down and claimed three lives, you’ll notice miles of destruction. You also won’t find any emergency siren. In fact, the two closest sirens to Waverly are in Disputanta and Wakefield; both nearly eight miles away. Governor McAuliffe says it’s something to look at.

“I think the Federal government is going to look at that,” McAuliffe said. “Problem is, when you have these storms, you don’t know where a tornado will drop down.”

McAuliffe says other things he wants to look at is the way permanent trailers are secured.

“Maybe we should look at the code of how these trailers are fastened down,” McAuliffe added. “The one that we saw yesterday in Waverly was just sat on top of cinder blocks.”

In the Richmond area, the only other localities with widespread sirens other than VCU and UR is the City of Colonial Heights and Fort Lee. There are other random sirens scattered around the region, but for the most part, there are large areas that are left uncovered by a siren.


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