Caldwell County, hit by tornado, doesn't have siren to warn residents

- People hit by the possible tornado in parts of Caldwell County say they never heard the tornado siren.

"We were standing outside and I asked him, I said shouldn't something be going off warning people? And he said, 'I don't know' and then boom the wind started coming and we got in the basement," said Isaac Bush, a Caldwell County resident. 

Residents didn't hear a warning because there isn't a siren system in place. 

"The tornado sirens it is a great option, it's a good redundancy function but as far as a primary alert other than notifying those people that are outside during a weather event it's really not designed to notify people that are inside their homes," said Dino Dibernardi, Caldwell County Emergency Services director.

The county uses a code red system that can pinpoint areas to alert residents about emergencies, but residents have to sign up.

"Code red actually alerted an hour prior to the storm of there being a warning. Before that, there was warnings that came out that were put out on social media and on the news outlets," said Dibernardi.

More than 4,300 people are signed up for code red alerts. On Sunday, 87 percent answered. Additional alerts were sent out to those who didn't. Some say they didn't know about the system but they'll sign up now.

"That's great, I mean that, right now there wasn't no deaths in this storm but yet if the storm was a little bit worse that probably would save some lives," said local Jerry Helton.

Jordan Bush downloaded the FOX 46 weather app so she can receive weather alerts right to her smart phone. Her family's home was destroyed when a tree crashed down on it.

"I was on the road going towards Hickory and to me it didn't seem serious, even right up until it hit it was like just a normal day. And I think that if we were to have a siren or if we were to have ways to tell people like, hey it's really coming, then we could save a lot of lives," Bush said.

The county has applied for several grants to receive tornado sirens, but has been denied since there have only been two tornadoes in the last 17 years.

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