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Hymera fire volunteers to hold fish fry to purchase weather siren

By Andrew Krull

The Hymera Vol. Fire Department will hold a Jonah fish fry later this month to raise funds for a weather siren — or actually a switch to automatically set off the siren.
“All our proceeds will go to a weather siren,” HVFD Chief Clay Shidler said. “Right now, we have to physically do it by pushing a button (at the fire station).”
This can cause some problems because as a volunteer unit a firefighter isn’t necessarily at the firehouse at all times.
The fish fry will take place Oct. 28 from 4-7 p.m. at the fire station, 106 E. Jackson St., in Hymera. The meal will consist of fish, baked or green beans, cole slaw, potato salad, a dessert and a drink, with a cost of $9 per meal or $5 for children 12 years old or younger.
Shidler estimated the cost of the switch, which would allow the siren to be set off by Sullivan County 911 Dispatch, at around $4,500.
“I think we’re one of the last ones (in the county) to get the switch put in,” he added. “I think everyone else has got one. We’re hoping it will alert people a little quicker.”
Shidler noted situations where town residents have alerted a firefighter of a tornado warning, with the firefighter then having to go in and set off the switch.
Hymera’s current siren is actually not serving its initial purpose.
“It’s our old fire siren we’re using,” Shidler said. “We haven’t used it for anything but weather for like, geez, 18 years.”
He noted when it’s been used for weather, some residents have been confused and come to the firehouse wondering where the fire was. The siren originally notified volunteers of a fire in the area and to come to the station.
“We’re going to need to educate a little more as to what it is,” Shidler said.
Eventually, the department would like to purchase a weather siren such as other communities have that include different tones for different weather emergencies.
Shidler advised that he has not researched the cost for one in several years as it currently isn’t in the budget, but estimated that cost would be around $20,000.

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