Because of the actions of a volunteer firefighter Rudd during last month’s destructive hurricane, an Oklahoma company donated a siren system to the town.
Logan Shefter, a member of Goddard Enterprises, said they heard the story of what happened to Rudd and volunteer firefighter Tyler Hicks through Facebook.
After witnessing the devastation and hearing about Hicks’ actions, the Oklahoma-based mass notification system company wanted to help the town. “Coming from Oklahoma, we have first-hand experience of tornado damage,” Shefter said.
She Earl said they admired Hicks’ story from the days of derecho. Hicks, who has been a volunteer firefighter for nearly a year, stood outdoors during the storm manually holding down the button of a tornado siren to alert the community of impending danger.
Hicks and volunteer firefighters arrived at the station on the night of December 15. Immediately upon arrival, Hicks’ phone received a tornado warning and he sounded the alarm.
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“It’s just been raining and I don’t know if it’s going to get any worse than that,” Hicks said.
Hicks recalls taking video with his phone to show others what life in the storm was like. While holding down the button, he realized the siren had gone silent. According to Hicks, the siren was blown off by the wind and sent two blocks away.
“In this case, we think that fireman was pretty noble sitting there, holding the button,” Shefter said.
“I signed up to be a volunteer firefighter and part of my job is to make sure everyone is safe,” says Hicks.
Shefter said Goddard Enterprises tries to help towns like Rudd update their warning systems, by helping them buy a new one or refurbish an older model.
Rudd’s new siren system is battery-operated, so if there’s a power outage in town, the siren can continue to sound. It also has a remote function that allows it to be activated from anywhere to alert the community.
Ms. Shepherd said a brand new siren system could cost between $23 and $25,000.
“Our company has been in business (nearly) sixty years and we just want to help everyone,” Shefter said.
The new siren system must be approved by the city council before it can be installed, but Hicks is worried about the appearance of sirens.
Hicks said: “I’m very excited.
Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at the address Abby.Koch@GlobeGazette.com