Boyd County Emergency Alert System 'Work in Progress'

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – Students at Catlettsburg Elementary crouched down on the ground, covering their heads after a voice came over the intercom, saying, “Can I have your attention please? This is a tornado drill. I repeat, this is a tornado drill.”

As warmer weather blows into the Tri-State region, Boyd County is preparing for the threat of tornadoes. On Tuesday, there was a countywide test of the siren system in case of an emergency – the first time the system had been tested in its entirety.

“Some people were able to hear it very well,” Tom Adams, chairman of the emergency planning committee, said. “There were a lot of people that said they could hear it but it was very faint.”

Adams tells it has some work to do to protect people in case of a tornado, since Tuesday’s sirens covered only about 40 or 50 percent of the county. In the rural southern end of the county and in the city of Ashland, the sirens were almost too faint to be heard.

That didn’t stop students like fourth-grader Katie Melvin and her classmates.

“Nothing will like try to break your neck and nothing will get in your eyes and make them burn and you won't break a leg or something like that,” Melvin said of the drills.

“Away from any glass or debris or anything that can fly and hurt the students,” Richard Cyrus, Safe Schools director for Boyd County Public Schools, said.

Like active shooter drills, Cyrus said, severe weather drills are now a reality. If something does happen, schools say they want to keep students safe.

The button that activates the sirens, located at the Boyd County 911 Center, did not work for two of the sirens.

“It's taken well over a year to get this into place,” Adams said. “I would expect it wouldn’t take much more than another year to make a big dent in the weak areas.”

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