The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:14 pm 
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DRDOG101 wrote: *
Stormsetter4 wrote: *
DRDOG101 wrote: *


Then what is their excuse? those are like the easiest sirens to maintain! and they are also very reliable.
The cost and the effectiveness of the system, as I clearly outlined in my above replies.
Pardon me, only saw that after I posted, but how would labor be that expensive, and I think Federal Signal devices are very effective.
$50,000 is a little on the high side, but I don't know who does their maintenance and I've seen numbers that high before. If they have someone in-house that does it that will drop the number down. Federal makes good products but they're nowhere near invincible. Battery chargers fail, batteries go bad, radios get hit by lightning, etc. The siren business is not cheap and neither are the skilled tradesmen like myself that maintain them.

PS- I did not mean to come off as rude on my response. Just make sure you read thru everything before you reply ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:30 am 
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Stormsetter4 wrote: *
I don't know who does their maintenance and I've seen numbers that high before.
West Shore does, IIRC

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:01 am 
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While VC Summer will no longer be operating the sirens that don't necessarily mean that the sirens would be going away completely. What exactly is going to happen with this system when everything is set and done? There's a chance that the plant will allow communities in the area to keep various sirens in place if they decided they want a system. There's also a possibility that if nobody wants to keep the sirens for their own system that they would be sold off to other communities. If they do decide to sell off large chunks of that system I'd love to see if they could arrange something with the counties my way that don't have a system. All of the mechanical sirens to my knowledge are set up as AC/DC for their power delivery, so if they don't want the battery backup because of the cost associated with them they could bypass that part of the siren controls and wire them up as AC only.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:07 pm 
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That would be great if they removed the sirens and sold them to siren-less communities. There are many places in need of a siren, or possibly a new siren, and their AC/DC capability is a plus.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:34 pm 
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DJ2226 wrote: *
While VC Summer will no longer be operating the sirens that don't necessarily mean that the sirens would be going away completely. What exactly is going to happen with this system when everything is set and done? There's a chance that the plant will allow communities in the area to keep various sirens in place if they decided they want a system. There's also a possibility that if nobody wants to keep the sirens for their own system that they would be sold off to other communities. If they do decide to sell off large chunks of that system I'd love to see if they could arrange something with the counties my way that don't have a system. All of the mechanical sirens to my knowledge are set up as AC/DC for their power delivery, so if they don't want the battery backup because of the cost associated with them they could bypass that part of the siren controls and wire them up as AC only.
That's exactly what happened with Zimmer. Cold spring has a 1212 prototype that went to a Volunteer fire department. Today it's still there as a tornado siren with shiny new UV controller too.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:50 am 
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What a shame. Hope they sell the sirens to nearby towns that dont have any sirens.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:58 pm 
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I guess I am sort of curious about why a bunch of guys that are not in the business and for the most part don't live in that area are second guessing the decision to decommission a system. Yeah, sirens are cool and all, but I have no doubt that they have their reasons for pulling the plug. And the one thing no one has brought up with ownership of sirens is liability. If something does happen and the sirens don't sound due to a lack of maintenance, mechanical failure or a bird sitting on the antenna blocking the signal. The power plant is a private business, and can be sued if their warning equipment doesn't function and warn people. With a cellular based system. The alert system provider has most of the liability. All they have to do is show that the texts were sent in a log file and they are covered. It puts the rest of it on the cell phone company and the individual users to ensure the phone has coverage. And to the point of should the sirens remain. I am in the business, and I can tell you that any customer I have dealt with that was decommissioning a siren or siren system to REMOVE the sirens. If a siren it there on a pole and not working, someone will call and pester them as to why the siren is not functioning. And even after being told the system is abandoned, they will continue to call and ask about getting it working again EVERY time there is a tornado warning or other event that the sirens would have been sounded for. Do we need outdoor warning sirens? Yes, in certain places. They need to be located in parks, near walking paths, and at schools. They should NOT be located i neighborhoods due to people expecting them to wake them up in a closed up house with the air conditioning running. And if they are close enough to do that, then the complains are they are too loud. That system has had the plug pulled, and it needs to be removed completely so there is none of this silliness going on.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 5:31 pm 
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While you do make some good points, keep in mind the NRC recommends multiple forms of warning (including sirens) and not everyone can check their phones at work. I'm a welder, my neighbor is a judge, my aunt is a nurse and most people aren't on the line 24/7.

When I wrecked my truck, I called my parents on every number they had. Home, work phone, cell Nothing. I wound up calling my brother who was playing counter strike. Had this been a different emergency, they wouldn't have gotten the warning.

Sirens do have their drawbacks but also cell providers do too. Remember Hawaii's false missile alert? Verizon throttling during California's wildfires? Dayton OH locals not knowing about the new messaging system until its first alert?

I get it a lot of guys on here have rose tinted glasses and overlook things but don't forget to check for your own rose tinted glasses.

Sure sirens are expensive, but just remember something an old firefighter told me.

"If you don't wanna pay for new alarms you're gonna pay with lives."

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:12 am 
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Ohio_Man wrote: *
While you do make some good points, keep in mind the NRC recommends multiple forms of warning (including sirens) and not everyone can check their phones at work. I'm a welder, my neighbor is a judge, my aunt is a nurse and most people aren't on the line 24/7.

When I wrecked my truck, I called my parents on every number they had. Home, work phone, cell Nothing. I wound up calling my brother who was playing counter strike. Had this been a different emergency, they wouldn't have gotten the warning.

Sirens do have their drawbacks but also cell providers do too. Remember Hawaii's false missile alert? Verizon throttling during California's wildfires? Dayton OH locals not knowing about the new messaging system until its first alert?

I get it a lot of guys on here have rose tinted glasses and overlook things but don't forget to check for your own rose tinted glasses.

Sure sirens are expensive, but just remember something an old firefighter told me.

"If you don't wanna pay for new alarms you're gonna pay with lives."
Well, I understand what you are trying to say, but those warnings will break through a phone conversation and go off on a cell phone, even one that is in use.
As far as the false alarms... sirens can have false alarms due to electrical failures, water ingress into the control cabinets, hacking or the system, or something as simple as someone with a ladder gets up and opens the box and pushes the button. It's actually much harder to initiate an EAS warning if you aren't authorized to do so than it is to set off a siren.
To the comments of rose colored glasses,,,, there is A LOT of that here... most of it is the silliness of how wonderful sirens are and why they should be on every block. And I am sort of curious as to what you are basing your comments on. My opinions are based on working on sirens for a living... having people 3 blocks away complain the sirens are not loud enough to wake them and neighbors to the sirens complaining that they are too loud and scare them. Which leads me to the statement that no matter what you do, someone will complain about your efforts.

Not to mention that you have a better chance in most places of hearing your phone than hearing a siren if indoors. And that even applies outdoors depending on where you live. I don't have a siren within 5 miles of me. So, unless I am outdoors, or have my scanner going and hear the activation tones, I don't hear anything. But I carry my phone everywhere and I do hear it.

As I said, there is a place for sirens. But even the great Franklin County system, with 208 sirens, doesn't wake everyone in the county when it's activated. And there are a number of homes that don't hear the sirens from inside. Mind you that's the biggest system in the country. So you STILL need other means.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:22 am 
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You also make some valid points, but there are some people who do not own a cell phone or NOAA Weather radio, or who don't carry one on them at all times. Emergency warning should be on a 'Tiered' approach, that consists of at least 3 means of communication: NOAA Weather Radios, Cellular Alerts, and Emergency Warning Sirens. This especially holds true to Nuclear Power Plants or Hydroelectric Dams.
kb8vul wrote: *
Mind you that's the biggest system in the country.
There are several larger than Franklin County. Hennepin County, Minnesota has over 290 sirens, and Oakland County, Michigan has 277. Hawaii has over 400 on the same statewide system.

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