Residents of Doolittle and the surrounding area will have a new tool to keep them safe from violent storms with the help of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant.
The grant will provide the city with $30,000 toward the purchase of two storm warning sirens, and the city and Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District will each contribute an additional $5,000 in matching funds.
The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) assisted with the grant application at the request of Doolittle Mayor Paul Smith.
Currently, the city does not have any storm sirens to give advanced warning of violent and potentially tornadic storms.
“Right now, our police will sometimes go around and run their sirens to warn our people about approaching storms, but that isn’t always very effective,” Smith said.
The city will begin searching for two property owners willing to donate easements to the city for the siren placement in the next few months. According to Smith, the city and Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District would like to place one siren on the east end of the city and one on the west end of the city. The intention is that by placing the sirens on the edges of town, they will be heard by the many rural residents who reside outside of the Doolittle city limits also.
“This isn’t just about the City of Doolittle,” Smith said. “It is about our entire area.”
While Smith says he hopes to have the project completed sooner, it may take up to 18 months to complete. Once property for the sirens is obtained, the sirens will have to be ordered, installed and tested to ensure they are working properly.