The Phillips County Office of Emergency Management has been awarded $44,072.93 in a grant funding to replace two non-functioning tornado sirens in the Helena-West Helena area.

Phillips County has twelve tornado sirens located strategically across the county. This includes: Elaine, Barton, Lakeview, Marvell, Southland and Oneida.

Two of the three sirens covering Helena-West Helena have not functioned  since 2016. “Those sirens were installed in the late 50’s or 60’s,” Tate stated. “They are antiquated and beyond repair. There are simply no replacement parts available.”

Grant funding to replace the two non-functioning sirens was awarded by Helena Health Foundation. “The Helena Health Foundation has made it possible,” Tate stated, “for citizens to be alerted to any imminent threats to their safety. This system will assure citizens have the optimum opportunity to seek shelter. Sirens save lives.”

Safety Comm, Inc., of North Little Rock is to begin installation of the new equipment in May.

Who is responsible for the safety of the 20,000 residents of Phillips County? Phillips County Office of Emergency Management/911 is located in the basement of the Phillips County Courthouse, 620 Cherry St., Suite 106. The disaster team is directed by Michael Burchett, who also also heads 911, Floodplain  Safety & Fire Services. Burchett has served with Phillips County since 2005. He also holds certifications in Emergency Management including: Law Instructor, Naval Instructor, Collateral Duty Inspection and Quality Assurance.

Burchett is a U.S. Navy Veteran with 26 years of service and is a Phillips County native. He attended school at Oneida and Barton.

Burchett is assisted by Deputy O.E. M/911 Coordinator, Will Tate. Tate experience includes: District Manager of a national firm, Business Manager/Engineers Tech for major construction company, Program Coordinator state sponsored Abstinence Ed., Program at Freedom for Youth Helana, Ar., Drop out Prevention case manager for Helena-West Helena Schools, House Arrest Administration Phillips County Juvenile Dept. Tate attended Eliza Miller High School and graduated from UAPB with a degree in Business Administration.

Burnett and Tate report to Phillips County Judge Clark Hall.

The office of Emergency Management/911 is responsible for the safety of the 20,000 plus residents of Phillips County.

For more information, contact Will Tate at the Phillips County Office of Emergency Management, 870-338-5530.