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Averting disaster: Erie County officials prepare in calm before the storm

Andy Ouriel • Mar 29, 2012 at 9:49 PM

(UPDATED WITH VIDEO) Bob Heim detected the devastating sound blaring through Huron just before 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Simultaneously, a screeching siren surpassed all other sounds in neighborhoods in Sandusky, Vermilion, Perkins Township and other populated areas.

One by one, almost every tornado siren situated throughout Erie County was activated in preparation for a possible doomsday scenario.

About 30 amateur radio operators located near these 44 sirens radioed in their findings and locations to Heim, who recorded the discoveries and dispatched commands from a central hub beneath the sheriff’s office on Columbus Avenue.

Luckily for community residents, the operators only noticed blue skies, mild winds and warm temperatures.

Operators and area emergency management leaders participated in a state-wide drill to test sirens during a weather awareness period.

Sirens trigger when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for the area. County leaders also sound off all tornado sirens at 12 p.m. during the first day of each month for routine tests.

For tips on how to spot bad weather and what items your family should have on-hand before disaster strikes, pick up a copy of Thursday's Register.

Want to volunteer?

What: Erie County Emergency Management Agency is seeking volunteers to become storm trackers, who relay information to dispatchers. The volunteers conduct a monthly meeting.

When: 7 p.m. every Thursday

Where: Sandusky Radio Club, 2909 W. Perkins Ave.

Also, the Firelands Amateur Repeater Association, which provides similar services to the county, is also looking for volunteers.

When: 7 p.m. every fourth Tuesday of the month

Where: Erie County Services Center, 2900 Columbus Ave.

For more information call 419-627-7617.

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