The Emergency Services Committee has discussed promoting Trousdale County’s Reverse 911 program to inform citizens of emergencies rather than spending money to fix a tornado siren that only benefits downtown Hartsville.

Promoting Trousdale County’s Reverse 911 system would be a better use of resources than repairing the Hartsville tornado siren, according to members of the Emergency Services Committee.

That message came across loud and clear at the committee’s Sept. 7 meeting.

Commissioners met to discuss a proposal of roughly $12,440 to make repairs to the tornado siren, which is located near the old City Hall on Broadway. But it was pointed out that the siren’s effective range is only about a mile, which leaves most of Trousdale County uncovered.

Committee chairman David Nollner noted that he lives approximately one mile from the siren but often is unable to hear it at his home.

“Sometimes I hear it, sometimes not. It just depends on what’s going on side the house,” Nollner said.

“If we really want to do a tornado warning system, we should do one countywide,” added EMA Director Matt Batey. “Do we want to invest $12,000 in repairing what we’ve got or look around and see the best option for the county?”

Encouraging citizens to sign up for the Reverse 911 system can be done by calling the main dispatch number at 615-374-3994 or by visiting the county’s website at and clicking on ‘Community Alerts.’

Residents can choose to be notified by phone call, text or email for local emergencies and/or weather alerts. While the system is set up to automatically call all landline numbers, it is necessary to sign up to receive alerts on a cell number. A growing percentage of people have forgone traditional landlines in favor of cell phones in recent years.

Both County Mayor Stephen Chambers and Commissioner Dwight Jewell noted their personal experiences with the Reverse 911 system during severe storms and cited the convenience of the system.

“I would suggest we make people aware of that system and get notifications that way, rather than spend money on something with a limited range,” Chambers said.

“That morning we got hit, my phone was blowing up, my wife’s phone was blowing up. That system works, it works well. People just have to be sure they’re in the system,” Jewell added.

Batey and Fire Chief Jay Woodard also briefed commissioners on equipment requests.

The Fire Department has ordered its new brush truck and has upgraded all its radios to a new digital system, Woodard reported. In addition, four volunteer firefighters have recently completed pump school training and all volunteers have completed their CPR recertification.

EMA is looking to purchase a new ambulance and has solicited quotes ranging from $233,000 to $251,000, Batey said. In addition, his department will request funds to purchase another LUCAS automated chest compressor, a cardiac monitor and four video laryngoscopes.

The county is hoping to use funds received through the American Rescue Plan to pay for the EMA requests, Chambers said, but is awaiting guidance from the Treasury Department on how those funds may be spent.

Hartsville/Trousdale County is expected to receive just over $5 million in funding through that bill, which passed Congress earlier this year.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or

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