REED CITY — It’s time to think of what to do in a weather emergency situation, and what not to do.

On Wednesday, March 30, there will be a special meeting at the Reed City Fire Department to learn more about such situation, as well as have an opportunity to take a weather spotter course offered by the National Weather Service.

In addition to that, if you’re in or near Reed City this Saturday afternoon, (April 2), you need to know you shouldn’t be scared when you hear a loud siren begin to wail at 1 p.m.

And if it continues to do so for what sounds like an awfully long time, don’t panic.

It will only be a test. The siren will continue to wail for three minutes straight. It will be tested 1 p.m. in that manner the first Saturday of each month, according to Jeff Weber, specialist with Osceola County’s Emergency Management Office.

Some people heard brief tests of the new siren in recent weeks as far away as a mile and a half from Reed City.

Weber said the siren is meant to warn residents of an emergency, including severe weather.

He said there may come a time, however, when the test could be cancelled. For instance, should there be severe weather already occurring or moving in around 1 p.m. on that first Saturday of the month, it might necessitate sounding the siren for an actual alert.

If that is ever the case, and the siren goes off shortly before or after the 1 p.m. test time, or it sounds at 1 p.m. and conditions warrant it, take shelter immediately.

The new system is fully functional, according to a news release prepared by the city. The release notes that the siren, when activated, will emit a three-minute steady wail “that is intended to send a single message, an emergency is occurring or imminent, take shelter immediately!

“To ensure that residents are familiar and aware of the system, community officials will begin regular testing of the siren, activating it one the first Saturday of each month at 1 p.m. beginning April 2nd.”

The release goes on to say that Reed City “is partnering with Osceola County Emergency Management, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the National Weather Service to conduct a community meeting on Wednesday, March 30 at 6 p.m. at the Reed City Fire Department.

“For further information, please contact Reed City offices at 231-832-2245.”

Weber also advised that “in a real emergency people should take shelter in a basement, in a bathroom, closet or hallway, on the lowest level, away from external walls, doors and windows.”

He added that the Wednesday night meeting will be for community education and to give people an opportunity to ask questions and get answers in an open forum.

Immediately following that meeting, at 7 p.m. personnel from the National Weather Service will be on hand to offer a severe weather spotter course at no cost.

A number of opportunities are available for those wishing to help in an emergency situation, and such training will be offered in the future as well.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a national program, Weber explained, that provides training for volunteers in basic first aid, fire, and search and rescue situations.

An Emergency Management Program, also free training, is a 20 hour program.

Anyone wishing further information may contact city manager Ron Marek at 832-2245 or Jeff Weber at 832-6172, extension 222.