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Is it time for Southwest Florida to get tornado sirens? Hear from Century 21 residents.

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Posted at 8:34 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 07:10:15-05

IONA, Fla. — IONA, Fla. - “I find myself very fortunate. I’m just happy that I’m alive and that I didn’t get injured," says Mark Novak, a resident of Century 21 Mobile Park from Minnesota.

Fortunate was the word used by many residents just one day after their community was devastated by heavy storms resulting in an EF-2 tornado.

And just one day later, the scene on the ground is night and day - with a sizable amount of debris already cleared. However, there's still a long way to go.

“Firemen were out here right away yesterday morning and they were clearing roads with chainsaws and they were going door to door wondering how everybody was, they did a fantastic job,” says Novak.

He's one of those fortunate ones - his home was left unscathed aside from some roof damage.

“I feel very fortunate. I feel bad for them but it made me feel better about what happened in my home," says Novak, speaking on his neighbors.

He first received warning from the "AlertLee" app which notified him on his cell phone of the coming storms.

“It’s like an Amber Alert, you know, the noise it makes. It catches your attention.”

The app can notify you of severe weather on both a cell phone or a landline.

But Novak says that a lot of his neighbors don't even know about it.

“Most didn’t have that app. Most didn’t even know it was going on," he says.

David Yoakum, another Lee County resident, says this makes a good case for tornado sirens in Southwest Florida.

Lee County officials told Fox 4 that sirens aren't being considered - but being from Michigan, David says they can be life saving.

“Being from the Midwest, you hear sirens all summer long going off. So it surprised me that those poor people didn’t have a chance.”

A chance that he says could save them from future tragedy.

“Everybody was saying that they were still in bed, so you need a siren to let people know that there’s something going on outside.”

Novak, also a midwesterner, agrees.

“I feel bad for the people that live across from them because they are loud, but they catch your attention.”