We reach for our phones, TVs, or computers when there is a threat for bad weather. Most of the time we get warnings automatically through calls or texts.

But Martinsville is revisiting an old technology that proves it can get your attention fast.

"2005 maybe it was when Fieldale that had a tornado come through up there," said Bob Phillips, the Director of Emergency Management in Martinsville.

The sirens aren't used often, but when they are, they've helped let people know a tornado may be around.

The city has two, one on each of the firehouses.

"Why do you think you need more?" I asked.

"Just to cover the area. They only cover half a mile at best," Phillips said.

Phillips wants the whole city to hear them.

For the last eight years he's worked on a 190 thousand dollar grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for part of the total cost.

The warning signals have worked in Martinsville and other areas for decades. To Phillips it's proved to work.

"It is an older type technology but it's pretty much a hardened technology, if you will. It's something that's going to be very basic," Phillips said.

The sirens work to complement all the ways they have of reaching you now.

"I think it's a good thing," said Darlene Gamble. She's lived in Martinsville for a while, doesn't rely on a cell phone and doesn't watch much TV. She says this is a big help.

"Everybody would know when that big siren goes off it's serious," Gamble said.

Phillips says he hopes the city doesn't have to use them. They'll be installed and ready for use this fall.