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Storm siren discussed at R-VI

Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 8:24 am

Chris Newbrough talks to the Community R-VI School Board.

Chris Newbrough talks to the Community R-VI School Board.

The Community R-VI School District could be the home for an outdoor warning siren in the near future.
Chris Newbrough, of the Audrain County Emergency Management Agency, made a Powerpoint presentation to the school board during their meeting last week to discuss the details of the project.
“You all don’t have a siren here,” Newbrough said during his presentation. “You have students and visitors and the ultimate goal is the safety of 7,500 students, faculty, staff, and visitors on an annual basis (as Newbrough took into account of approximate numbers for games, graduation, etc.).”
There is $10,000 needed to purchase an install a siren in time for the next school year. Newbrough said more than $2,600 is in the bank already for the project.
Two more funding sources may be available in the next week.
Consolidated Electric will be donating and installing a 52-foot pole for the siren while Ameren Missouri may supply the labor to hook up the siren once it is installed.
The siren would be a Whelan WPS2902 siren, which is a two-cell system with a ground level control box.
Its broadcast radius is 2,400-feet in any direction or just under a half mile when at full volume. It is rated at 110 decibels at 100-feet.
There is no voice command, though it could be added for approximately $600. This siren an exact replica of what was recently installed in Benton City.
Alerts are designated for those residents who are outdoors and not meant for those indoors.
There is also a battery backup in case power goes out before a tornado warning is issued so the siren will still function when needed.
There will be six available tones with only one used for the tornado warnings.
It will be tested once per month on the first Tuesday at 1 p.m. as the Westminster Chimes will play at that time unless there is severe weather.
Sirens can be activated without warning from the National Weather Service or if trained spotters and other law enforcement officials see a tornado.
Newbrough showed a screen shot from the 911 control center showing siren notifications for those in Benton City, Farber, Laddonia, and Rush Hill.
A siren for Martinsburg will be installed by mid-April and will be owned by the City of Martinsburg.
Newbrough went on to explain how the NWS uses a process called polygoning to track a storm to alert communities in the path of a tornado or storm itself.
In the past, the entire county received warnings but now the NWS uses the polygoning for the isolated areas.
He said to place the siren, the district would have to assume ownership of the siren and any associated costs. A donation toward the cost would show good faith and will go toward the district’s patrons. No donation will not put a stop on the project.
This includes the electrical costs to run the siren each month. It costs less than $10 in Benton City.
The siren would also have to be added to the school’s insurance policy. When Martinsburg added theirs, the cost was estimated to be less than $50 per year.
No decisions were made by the board at the meeting.