By Lenny C. Lepola firstname.lastname@example.org
January 29, 2014
County EMA wants Village storm siren hooked to 911:
Siren would be located at BST&G station
Delaware County Emergency Management Agency Director Sean Miller and BST&G Fire Chief Jeff Wilson were in chambers during last Wednesday’s (January 22) Sunbury Village Council meeting to discuss location options for the Village’s new weather emergency warning siren.
Council members began pricing a new siren last year when the old sirens needed repairs and parts were no longer available.
Newer sirens, costing over $20,000 each, have a range up to 6,400 feet, making it possible for a single siren to cover the village if the right location could be found. To reach a maximum warning distance a siren would need to be mounted well above ground level, either on a tower or on a tall building.
Village administrator Dave Martin had explored options for mounting a weather-warning siren on a light pole at the Big Walnut High School Football Stadium, and at the Delaware County EMS 2 Station on Granville Street.
A representative for C and K Early Warning Systems advised against mounting the siren on those poles because the weight of the siren with a backup battery might add too much stress to the pole in windy conditions, and could cause the poles to break.
Last Wednesday Miller and Wilson recommended mounting the siren on a pole at the West Cherry Street BST&G Station and tying the siren’s activation in with the Delaware City siren that’s activated by the Delaware County 911 Center.
Miller said the Delaware activation makes more sense during a weather emergency.
“If Chief Wilson and the fire crews and the police department are engaged in emergency runs, a siren tied into the city system could still be activated,” Miller said.
Wilson said locating the siren at the BST&G Station eliminates the need for a heavy and costly backup deep-cycle marine battery; that the siren would be tied into the fire station’s internal power grid that has a backup generator.
“Locating the siren at our station would eliminate the need for a battery,” Wilson said. “And there’s more than a couple manufacturers out there manufacturing units that we could tie into the existing radio system to activate remotely.”
Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield said whatever solution is decided upon, members of the community expect an operating weather-warning siren to be installed before the 2014 tornado season.
Martin said if a solution could be agreed on there might be Community Development Block Grant money that would pay for the siren; and that Delaware County might use its revolving loan fund to purchase the siren and then get reimbursed with the CDBG payment when the grant money is disbursed.
Wilson cautioned that a weather-warning siren is only one piece of a bigger puzzle when severe weather is approaching.
“We want to do everything that we can to warn the public when severe weather is on the way — weather radios, phone alerts, social media,” Wilson said. “Sirens are a big part of that puzzle, but we can’t rely on them 100 percent.”