The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 8:36 am 
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Location: St. Charles County, Mo.
It's tragic that 3 tornadoes struck the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, injuring 200 and killing at least 1. I haven't watched the news yet this morning to see if those numbers have been updated.

Back in June 2005 my family and I went to Virginia Beach on vacation. As usual, like many of you, I looked for sirens, since VB is a large city, but I saw none. And I don't know if there are sirens in Suffolk or not, or the other area where the tornadoes struck. But 200 injured makes me wonder if no sirens are the reason there was such a high number of injuries.

I know that tornadoes aren't real common up that way, as they are here in the midwest where I live. But, it just goes to show that MAYBE, had sirens been available, maybe the number of injured would've been much lower, and maybe no one would've died. Who knows for sure, though?


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 9:08 am 
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Location: Darien, CT
I agree, there is no way to know.

Purchasing outdoor sirens can be a difficult decision for a lot of communities. Don't forget that the money available is finite and choices have to be made based on how many lives might be saved.

If any of us ran Virginia Beach, what would be the better choice - a siren system or more rescue boats and lifeguards? Or better fire equipment and training? Which is more likely to make a difference? I doubt there's been a tornado in the area for the last 25 years before now, but there's several drownings every year.

I'm just trying to make the point that public safety decisions aren't easy or simple.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 10:25 am 
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Location: NC
Eww, Virginia Beach is a crappy place to vacation :wink:


But no, none of those area have any sort of outdoor warning siren system (with the exception of the Whelen 2700 System for the Surry nuke plant to the north of that area) except for the occasional fire siren at the volunteer fire dept. That area had Federal WWII air raid sirens, but they have been long removed. That area never gets tornadoes, so having a siren system is pretty much completely pointless in my opinion. It does surprise me that there were so many casualties though. But I agree with Jim, their money is probably better spent on lifeguards and fire trucks.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 12:28 pm 
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Location: St. Charles County, Mo.
As a firefighter and fire buff, and having been to Virginia Beach, the VBFD fleet is very much up-to-date, having seen it first-hand 3 years ago and seeing pictures in various magazines of new fire apparatus purchases since then, not only from VB but from the surrounding cities as well, like Suffolk, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, etc. So I know that money is sufficiently alocated for new fire apparatus in that area. As far as the lifeguards, well, I don't know much about their equipment. I'm sure it's up to par.

I just figured that with all of the military installations in that area that there would be more of an air raid warning siren system, versus a dedicated tornado or hurricane warning siren system. Even if they did have air raid sirens they could also sound for the occaisional tornado warning.

I see the point somewhat of the opinions expressed so far, about money being better-spent in other areas of public safety, but a siren system could have, in my opinion, saved a lot of people from getting injured there, maybe even prevented that one fatality. I'm sure most people figured it was just a bad thunderstorm, and that many didn't even know that a tornado was bearing down on them.

You have to figure that with that many injuries it's obvious that not everyone had their TV's or radios on to tell them of the severe weather situation. Again, "Hey, it's just a bad thunderstorm" was probably the feelings of most of the people.

With the amount of damage shown on TV that I've seen, I can figure on there being several injuries, but not 200-plus. I'm still of the opinion that a siren system would have saved many injuries from occurring.

Just my 2-cents. :wink:


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 12:38 pm 
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
When I was down in that area several years ago, I did not see any warning sirens at all. I thought they should have some old air raid sirens around from the Cold War, but they must have been removed. In fact, I didn't even seeing any sirens on the fire stations.

From what I understand, the National Weather Service, issued tornado warnings based on doppler radar at 15:11 hours for the city of Suffolk, and was in effect until 15:45 hours. The storm was moving northeast at nearly 75 km/h, and this was followed by another tornado warning for the city of Suffolk issued at 15:47 hours, until 16:15, based on another storm producing a TVS on doppler radar.

All total, three large tornadoes struck the Suffolk area, and the NWS did broadcast timely warnings to the public via NOAA All-Hazards/Weather Radio. Apparently, not very many people have one of these specialized receivers outside the infamous Tornado Alley. Ironically, according to the news media, there was no early warning siren system in place to warn the public.

I wonder if any of the injured have a right to file a lawsuit under Virginia laws, because their community did not have an outdoor warning siren system?

_________________

Sincerely yours,


Ron W.

"When your siren's a failin', chances are it's a Whelen."


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 12:57 pm 
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Location: St. Charles County, Mo.
500AT, anything's possible nowdays concerning litigation. I don't know if someone would have a leg to stand on with wanting to file a lawsuit over a city/community not having a siren system, but it would not surprise me to see something someday like that.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 1:33 pm 
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Location: Greeneville, TN
I live in Southwest VA right in the heart of the mountains, One of the poorest places to live economically in the country. We have outdoor sirens. Suffolk and Virginia beach cant use the age old excuse "we cant afford them" We have 5-Sentry's to be exact. They replaced the 4-Federal Model 5. They are not used for VFD they are used for Flooding and Tornadoes.

We also do not get NOAA Weather radio coverage here. if we take the Radio outside it will pick up a station from Jackson,KY that station does not cover tazewell County. most of the people here have satellite TV it goes out with every storm. so for those who don't live in town have no warning.

This year there was a Tornado That came through big stone VA (up the road from me). Nobody died but it took a lot of peoples homes. The one siren they had did not work, there was no electric.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72utV9gg ... re=related


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 2:52 pm 
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Hey, here's an idea, lets put up sirens everyplace more than 6 people may gather, and create a couple thousand more government jobs for directors of explaining why the system failed to work, er I mean Directors of Emergency Preparation H.

Then we can create another industry to paint and install signs explaining what to do when the siren blows.

Then we can have meetings about how many languages the signs must be printed in, and more meetings on how to get people to read the signs.
Then there can be more metings to determine what to put on the signs, after the meetings to develope a plan of what to do with all the people when the emergency occurrs. Probably ought to be a meeting on how to flood the fleet of School Busses too.
Hey, we better have a meeting to decide if the people who got fat from eating all the bagels and donuts in the other meetings are entitled to free personal trainers and gym facilitys too.

Then we will need to appropriate funds to build more meeting rooms and furnish them with appropriate furniture, and of course toilet facilitys. Better have a meeting to see if the Executive Director deserves a personal bathroom adjacent to his/her office too, cause everybody knows Executive Directors are full of crap. Gotta have the proper infrastructure or progress can't be made.

Once all the infrastructure is in place, phones installed and hooked up, emergency lights in case the office and conference center needs to be evacutated because locating it in the subbasement that floods wasn't a good idea are installed, and the center is fully handicap accessable, we can get down to discussing why the agency was originally formed. Well, really, we can't yet, because the Director and Assistant need County vehicles, and we must define the scope of their authority, who reports to who and who has authority over who in terms of interagency communication and intercourse. You gotta be real careful there, can't go stepping on anybody's toes in the uniformed services, and no that doesn't include sewer workers even though they wear countyprovided uniforms.

Naturally, this all needs to be accomplished within the timeframe set forth in the original mandate from the legislative body that authorized the formation of the agency, or somebody will need to be brought in from the consulting world to lobby politicians for an extension of timeframe.

Then the question needs to be answered, is an environmental impact study necessary to determine if the loud noise made when sirens blow detrimental to the nesting habits of the canary rat and flying squirrel. If the study is necessary, that will require a suplemental budget, and more time.

By this point in time it will become evident the entire Emergency Center needs to be moved because tha accumulation of farts in the basement room have caused the paint to peel off the walls. Naturally relocation will be undertaken on an emergency basis, and space will need to be rented while toe Office of Office Utilization locates appropriate space for the agency. Meanwhile, everybody on the comitty will need to attend a meeting on holding meetings in PuertoRico in the winter months.

At that meeting, they will learn of the new computer driven reverse 911 systems, and upon returning to their new rented office, will need to redefine the scope of response to the original problem, whatever the hell it was.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 3:02 pm 
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Location: Somewhere in Ohio
Franz? wrote:
Hey, here's an idea, lets put up sirens everyplace more than 6 people may gather, and create a couple thousand more government jobs for directors of explaining why the system failed to work, er I mean Directors of Emergency Preparation H.

Then we can create another industry to paint and install signs explaining what to do when the siren blows.

Then we can have meetings about how many languages the signs must be printed in, and more meetings on how to get people to read the signs.
Then there can be more metings to determine what to put on the signs, after the meetings to develope a plan of what to do with all the people when the emergency occurrs. Probably ought to be a meeting on how to flood the fleet of School Busses too.
Hey, we better have a meeting to decide if the people who got fat from eating all the bagels and donuts in the other meetings are entitled to free personal trainers and gym facilitys too.

Then we will need to appropriate funds to build more meeting rooms and furnish them with appropriate furniture, and of course toilet facilitys. Better have a meeting to see if the Executive Director deserves a personal bathroom adjacent to his/her office too, cause everybody knows Executive Directors are full of crap. Gotta have the proper infrastructure or progress can't be made.

Once all the infrastructure is in place, phones installed and hooked up, emergency lights in case the office and conference center needs to be evacutated because locating it in the subbasement that floods wasn't a good idea are installed, and the center is fully handicap accessable, we can get down to discussing why the agency was originally formed. Well, really, we can't yet, because the Director and Assistant need County vehicles, and we must define the scope of their authority, who reports to who and who has authority over who in terms of interagency communication and intercourse. You gotta be real careful there, can't go stepping on anybody's toes in the uniformed services, and no that doesn't include sewer workers even though they wear countyprovided uniforms.

Naturally, this all needs to be accomplished within the timeframe set forth in the original mandate from the legislative body that authorized the formation of the agency, or somebody will need to be brought in from the consulting world to lobby politicians for an extension of timeframe.

Then the question needs to be answered, is an environmental impact study necessary to determine if the loud noise made when sirens blow detrimental to the nesting habits of the canary rat and flying squirrel. If the study is necessary, that will require a suplemental budget, and more time.

By this point in time it will become evident the entire Emergency Center needs to be moved because tha accumulation of farts in the basement room have caused the paint to peel off the walls. Naturally relocation will be undertaken on an emergency basis, and space will need to be rented while toe Office of Office Utilization locates appropriate space for the agency. Meanwhile, everybody on the comitty will need to attend a meeting on holding meetings in PuertoRico in the winter months.

At that meeting, they will learn of the new computer driven reverse 911 systems, and upon returning to their new rented office, will need to redefine the scope of response to the original problem, whatever the hell it was.


I say that's a good idea but how are we going do that?


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 3:08 pm 
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Location: Lewis Center, OH (summer)
That part of the east coast has seen strong tornadoes before. A few years ago, College Park and La Plata, Maryland were hit by strong tornadoes. The La Plata tornado was the second F5 to have ever hit the city (the first one was in the very early 1900s).
That area has seen it's fair share of tornadoes in my opinion. Those tornadoes actually prompted the University of Maryland to purchase 3 Federal 2001SRNs and La Plata to purchase a set of Whelen 2805s. I'd honestly say that they've been hit enough to make sirens a higher priority.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 3:14 pm 
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Thunderbolt, have your Administrative Assistant call my Administrative Assistant, and they can coordinate A meeting on the subject once they have decided what resort we will meet at and who is funding the meeting.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 3:32 pm 
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Location: Darien, CT
FedTB said, "With the amount of damage shown on TV that I've seen, I can figure on there being several injuries, but not 200-plus. I'm still of the opinion that a siren system would have saved many injuries from occurring. "

No disagreement there, TB, the issue which I thought would make a good discussion is this one: how best to spend a community's limited resources. If installing a siren system might have prevented the death and some of the injuries, that has to be set against the very likely greater saving of life gained by putting the money somewhere else. If these Virginia communities put in a siren system, there's the very real chance they'd never be used in earnest, against the practical certainty other public safety projects would have an immediate benefit.

I feel sure the injured have no recourse against the communities for not having a siren system. Whether any lives would be saved is speculation to start with (although the sirens likely would have had a benefit). Sovereign immunity isn't totally dead at all.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 4:18 pm 
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That area is probably as anti-siren as the entire state of Florida is.

We don't want to alarm the tourists and senior citizens now, do we?


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2008, 8:19 pm 
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Fletch wrote:
That area is probably as anti-siren as the entire state of Florida is.

We don't want to alarm the tourists and senior citizens now, do we?

:twisted:
Flag on the post, 5 yard penalty for picking on Senile Citizens!

Hell the old farts might be the only ones smart enough to know what the siren was for based on FloriDum's election record.


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PostPosted: April 30th, 2008, 7:06 am 
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Location: Maryland
For what it's worth, I recall several thunderbolts in various locations on the Norfolk Naval base while stationed there. Also I know of at least one in the Portsmouth area, in the shipyards. It's been at least 4 or 5 years since the last time I've been to the base, but I don't imagine they've gone anywhere. Never heard them, never heard about them. Two or three I recall, were way the hell up on building tops along the peersides.

I would imagine, if they are inactive, removing some of them from their locations would be a difficult and involved process... leaving them to rot on the roof would be the simpler solution.


JasonC said: Eww, Virginia Beach is a crappy place to vacation :wink:

Amen. VA Beach is like Ocean City's retarded little brother... of course, you could make the same comparison of O.C. to Myrtle Beach :)


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