Residents in Tom Bean can rest easy knowing their city is a little safer following the city’s receipt of a $2,155 grant from Texas-New Mexico Power to install new radio-controlled remotes for the city’s emergency sirens.


Mayor Sherry Howard said it is all about safety.


“This is a safety issue,” Howard said. “We got this grant because they are interested in safety. We have people going into the fire department and manually holding a big red button with their hand for a minute. If there is a big storm coming, they would be in danger. Now we won’t have to have a physical person pushing a button. They could be out at their job and be able to activate it. Since they are all volunteers anyways it’s good.”


Howard said when she took over as mayor ten years ago, the sirens were in need of repairs. She saw to it to ensure they were upgraded then. Now, with the help of a grant from the TNMP, the city can install new technology that will allow emergency responders to trigger the alarm remotely without having to be present in the building.


“We were fortunate to be the recipient of this grant,” Howard said. “We’re so proud we were able to receive this grant for our city.”


Howard said it will reduce response times in the event of an emergency.


Howard said the grant comes up every year and that hundreds of Texas cities compete. This was the third year her city applied and this year the city was awarded the money.


She said city officials still need to file some paperwork to process the grant, once funds are received it will be installed quickly She estimated it wouldn’t take longer than a month.


The new device will allow any member of the city’s volunteer fire department or police department to activate the alarm using the hand-held radios they already keep with them.


She said it was all part of the city’s efforts to improve their emergency response rate. She is hoping to seek funding to install a second siren as the existing one is beyond the reach of some residents on the east side of town.


“We really need to get another one for the city at the other end of town. We hope to be growing out on the east side. We’ll look at that if we can get the funding,” Howard said.


The city has three full-time police officers, two reserves and nearly a dozen volunteer firefighters all able to trigger the alarm if needed.


She said Tom Bean receives plenty of support from neighboring city’s in case of an emergency.


“They all back each other up in the community. We have Howe, Bells, Whitewright, Van Alstyne and Sherman doing backups for us,” Howard said.