Emergency warning system at work in Vinton

VINTON — Town officials are hoping a new siren warning system will give residents an advantage in emergencies.

The system was installed in March and is designed to warn of such emergencies as inclement weather and hazardous material spills.

Fire Chief Jerry Merchant said the sirens, installed at the Southside Fire Station and in the 700 block of East Street, will alert residents of situations that require immediate action.

The system will be especially helpful in weather emergencies, Merchant said.

“When a severe weather warning goes out over the television or radio that means there is severe weather coming in, such as high winds, hail or that type of weather,” he said.

“We will set the sirens off when a tornado has been spotted, whether it’s coming directly toward Vinton or going to miss us. We need to let everyone know about it.”

In addition to the sirens, the town’s warning plan includes automatic phone calls to residents.

The alert system can transmit a continuous warning for up to two days and the sirens are built to withstand severe weather.

The alert system is the only one in Calcasieu Parish equipped to transmit voice messages.

Vinton paid $81,000 for the system and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury paid the remaining $25,000.