Madison Co. EMA tested new siren system - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Madison Co. EMA tested new siren system

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Workers with the Madison County EMA tested out their newtechnology during the storms Thursday night. New severe weather softwareactivates sirens to specific areas to let those who could be affected knowabout potential danger.

Crews called it a learning experience because they justput the system in last year and they really hadn't had a chance to use it untilThursday. EMA workers said it was good to use it in a real world situation.

Tracking a specific storm's path and sounding the rightsevere weather siren became more precise in June. That's when the SirenTelemetry Actuation and Report Software, also known as STAR, was installed atthe Emergency Management Agency in Huntsville.

"It's a software and hardware system where we canactivate the outdoor warning sirens in a specific area in a polygon, arectangle basically that the national weather service issues their warnings in,"said EMA Officer Paige Colburn.

However, it wasn't until the severe weather blew throughthe valley that the new technology was officially put to the test. Before thestorm, it was only used for monthly tests.

"Now we can sound the sirens, just 8 or 10 sirens up inthe north west part of the county, " Colburn continued. "Like last night thetornado warning was very specific to a rural north west part of the countyinstead of sounding them throughout the city of Huntsville."

EMA Officer Paige Colburn said the upgrade is beneficialbecause it ensured the right people hear the siren, saving them fear, time andconcern.

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