Lettuce Lake community tests out first tornado siren in DeSoto County

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ARCADIA, Fla.- A piercing sound penetrated the air Thursday as the Lettuce Lake Travel Resort in Arcadia tested its newly-installed tornado siren.

In an effort to improve visitors’ safety, Lettuce Lake, home to about 500 people, began sounding the first and only tornado siren in DeSoto County.

“I think it’s an absolutely tremendous idea. I mean, a lot of us have cell phones and we didn’t even get the warning on the cell phones,” resident Penney Bateman said, referring to the recent tornado warning issued during severe weather.

When severe storms threaten the area and the National Weather Service issues a warning, the resort’s property manager is in charge of sounding the siren.

“It makes us feel a lot better having the alert if we need,” said Bud Hedger, manager at Lettuce Lake. “The piece of mind knowing that when they go to bed at night, they know they will be getting up if there is a circumstantial warning.”

The siren, donated by a fire department in Ohio, went off without a hitch, but there are a few tweaks that need to be worked on.

“We have to get the siren up a little higher on the pole and the volume is okay, we just maybe have to directionalize our siren a little better,” Hedger said.

Thomas Moran, DeSoto County’s interim emergency management director, says he hopes other RV parks will see an incentive to install a siren of their own.

“Anytime a park is proactive and does anything to prepare for a natural hazard like a tornado, I just think it’s a step in the right direction,” Moran said.

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