By Kevin M. Smith

The Cove Herald

Residents of Copperas Cove will not hear a siren during severe weather or emergency. Instead it will be a ring — or whatever song is the ringtone for a cell phone.

The FirstCall system is like a reverse 911. It calls phone numbers in the 911 directory to alert residents of storm warnings or other disasters.

Residents who do not have a land line listed in the phone book can add an unlisted phone number, cell phone number or any other number to the directory by logging onto firstcall.net and clicking on “Unlisted Number Registration” in the upper right corner of the page. Residents can also call the company at 800-653-9232 to find out if they are covered and to change, update or add phone numbers to receive alerts.

The Web site also states that residents can receive alerts via text messaging, e-mail, pagers and fax machines.

Fire Chief Dennis Haas said Copperas Cove has a call system to warn residents. That was not utilized Tuesday night during a tornado warning, Haas said.

“The most at-risk areas were north of us,” Haas said. “We were monitoring the situation ... You certainly don’t want to cry wolf.”

Brief tornadoes in Coryell County on Tuesday resulted in little damage, according to officials. Nick Hampshire, meteorologist with NWS in Fort Worth, and Phillip Yarbrough, Coryell County emergency management coordinator, said the twisters stayed in rural areas between Evant and Gatesville along U.S. Highway 84.

“We did confirm (tornadoes) from our spotters at the time,” Hampshire said. “It sounds like it just occurred out in the open.”

Haas said the best way for residents to find out about imminent weather threats is through TV, radio, internet or weather radio alerts.

“The timely and accurate information is there,” Haas said.

Hampshire recommended the NWS weather radios.

“You can set it on an alert for your county,” Hampshire said.

He said the radios are available at most electronic or retail stores and range from $20 to $60 depending on the features.

Haas said the Copperas Cove City Council has discussed getting sirens for the city in the past but hasn’t been able to find the funds to install sirens.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at ksmith@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7550

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