Arkansas is on the edge of tornado alley and its most vulnerable people in our community are mobile home residents who make up thirteen percent of state occupants. Over half of all tornado deaths are suffered by people who live in mobile homes. Away we could reduce the amount of death and injury to mobile home occupants at the state level is to make all the polices for tornado sirens the same across all the counties in Arkansas.

The tornado siren policies in Arkansas differ from county to county and sometimes between cites. Most of these policies are not readily available to the public and this can cause misinterpretations of the sirens. Some sirens will only go off for tornados while others will go off for straight-line winds as well.

Straight-line winds could be just as damaging to mobile homes like a tornado and in counties such as Van Buren mobile home residents wished they had warnings before the straight-line winds. Then they could have been prepared and possibly have prevented injuries that were caused. This sense of risk for mobile home residents is not conveyed when there are repeated false or misinterpreted sirens. According to the University of Oklahoma in order for a warning to be successful, the warning must make the individual feel a sense of immediate risk.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is already working toward making the policies for the cities and counties in Arkansas available to the public. Logically making the policies the same across the state would be the next step. Over 357,398 Arkansas residents are living in mobile homes they may be someone you know or a family member or even you and their safety matters.

Gwenyth Coleman

Clarksville, Arkansas