Press Release – After the tornadoes that struck the Oriva Hills Subdivision on June 1, 2018, Campbell County’s warning siren system has received considerable scrutiny. First, when the siren system was launched with reports of possible tornadoes, the first phase of the three-part system worked, and then things quickly went awry. The system lost power, resulting in a failure of the second and third phases of the warning system, the whoop/wail, and the final digital voice. Several days later when a silent test was attempted, the test ended up not being quite so silent causing confusion and frustration for many residents. Most recently, the siren system was activated and worked the way it is intended too. However, due to a lack of follow up from the National Weather Service, the public and county officials did not receive notification of what actions to take. Needless to say, the public has provided Campbell County officials with considerable feedback.
Campbell County recognizes the public relies on this important public safety system in times of a weather emergency to protect themselves and their families. In an attempt to address the public concerns, Campbell County Emergency Coordinator, David King came up with an idea to involve the public in notifying his office when a member of the public feels a siren is not working correctly. King collaborated with Campbell County Mapping and GIS Manager, Tony Knievel, whose team brought King’s idea to life. The result is a web-based siren testing application.
The application is simple to use and requires no personal data. When a member of the public goes to http://arcg.is/S9GO8 on a pc or mobile device, they will be directed to a short survey form that asks questions regarding what the person heard. Did they hear a message at the beginning of the siren test? Was the siren whoop/wail sound heard? Was the voice message clear and distinct or muffled? Was the person indoors or outdoors? After answering seven multiple choice questions, the user is asked to mark the location where they were when they heard the siren system. The information collected through this application will be provided to King, who can use the data to assess sirens that may require maintenance.
The public is encouraged to pay attention during the regular monthly siren test on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, and to report what they hear using the web application. The sirens are tested on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. in the Town of Wright and 10:30 a.m. in the Gillette and surrounding areas.
A link to the application can also be found in Campbell County Emergency Management Agency’s web page, ccgov.net/ccema.
King offered the following reminder, “the siren system is an outside warning system, designed to alert those who are outside that they need to take cover immediately. The system is designed to alert people of a potential threat.” He encourages everyone to have an NOAA weather radio and mobile apps that can be used to alert the user of potential dangers, as well as recommended actions. In the more sparsely populated areas of the county sirens are not available, and therefore it is essential for individuals to find an alert system that works well for them.