Storms rolled through southwest Missouri in the early morning hours Wednesday and did some major damage in the Branson and Lebanon areas. While Farmington dodged that bullet, city officials are reminding residents about emergency preparedness.
According to Dan Duncan, emergency management director for Farmington, emergency workers responded to a couple of alarm calls and one tree limb down, but no other calls related to Wednesday’s storm. Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey said his department received no reports of structural damage or any other weather-related calls.
Duncan said this is, however, a reminder for people that spring weather is approaching and residents need to have their emergency plans in place. He encourages homeowners to purchase a NOAA weather radio in case they do not hear the sirens going off outside.
He suggested residents sign up for the CodeRED alert system available for anyone working or living in the Farmington city limits.
Duncan said he was in the police station Wednesday morning when the storm was passing through the area. The sirens went off in town because there was a warning for a portion of St. Francois County. However, the immediate threat was for northern St. Francois County. The city has a policy of sounding the sirens whenever a warning is issued for any portion of the county.
But the CodeRED system was not utilized. Messages would have been sent out only if Farmington had been in an immediate impact area or the path of a forming or existing tornado or severe storm.
Residents can sign up for the free system, which will send a phone call, text or email when an emergency is likely or has already occurred.
Messages are sent if the community is under a thunderstorm warning, flash flood warning or tornado warning. The system will be upgraded this year and by next winter will have winter storm warnings included. When signing up for CodeRED individuals can select the alerts they wish to receive.
Duncan cautioned such systems are only as good as the telephone number database supporting them. “If your number is not in the database, you will not be called,” he explained.
Some example of other messages that can be sent using the CodeRED system include evacuation notices, hazard materials incidents, boil water notices, missing children, aftermath of a storm or other events where timely notification of the public is crucial, power outages whether planned or not, street closures, community meeting information and more.
If you are not sure that you are included in the database, simply log onto the city of Farmington website, www.farmington-mo.gov, and follow the link to the “CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment” page. It is recommended that all businesses register, as well as individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number and address within the last year and those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number.