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May 5, 2013

Tornado veterans balance preparedness, practicality

(Continued)

The county also began registering people with storm shelters, to make sure rescue crews can find people if they are trapped during a future storm. It also got FEMA grants to pay for new $20,000 warning sirens.

Joplin upgraded all 33 of its warning sirens, after surveys found residents jaded by the sound of sirens being tested every week. The new sirens can be tested electronically and are sounded just once a month, to remind residents of how they sound.

When those sirens go off now, people head straight to shelter, said Jane Cage, chief operating officer at Heartland Technology Solutions and chairwoman of Joplin’s Citizens Advisory Recovery Team, a volunteer group formed after the tornado.

“We all act differently now. I would think there’s hardly anyone who, when the weather gets really bad, doesn’t get a little feeling in the pit of their stomach,” she said.

Even so, Cage said the community has to act practically when it comes to preparation.

“How far do you prepare for something, with the likelihood that you’ll never use it?”

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