Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

March 6, 2013

Sirens raise questions

March 6, 2013 — When the warning sirens were installed in Grayson in the spring of 2010, Grayson Emergency Management made several attempts to inform the public about the operation and procedures of the system. Informational letters were distributed, newspaper articles were written, and the EM Director appeared on the cable TV channel explaining when, why, and how the system was to be used. Since then, new residents have moved to Grayson and others may not be aware of the siren procedures

The four sirens are manufactured in the United States by the Whelen Company. Emergency Management secured a grant from the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security, received donations from several Grayson businesses and organizations, and was allotted budgeted money from the Grayson City Council to purchase and install the system.

Warning Sirens are an “outdoor” warning system. Although our sirens have the public announcement feature, the voice message is not intended to be audible inside of a home or building. Once the warning blast is heard, one must go outside or open a window to be able to hear the voice message. The physical distance from the closest siren and weather conditions may still affect the clarity of any message. It has always been recommended that citizens should turn on a radio to 102.3FM (WUGO) for details about the emergency that is being announced.

The sirens are tested every other Friday at 4 p.m. Otherwise, they are activated only during potential threats to the community.

When the National Weather Service issues a weather warning, the sirens are set off.

Sometimes that warning is not issued until after weather conditions have already begun to affect the area. On several occasions, Grayson has been struck with severe weather conditions but the NWS has not issued any warning.

“Obviously the system is not perfect, but we feel that our city has a better chance of being informed and warned of dangers than if we had no system at all,” Grayson Emergency Management Director Roger Dunfee said. “There are other potential threats to the city that may require activation including hazardous materials leaks, flooding, shelter-in- place information, evacuations, and Amber Alerts.”

Dunfee said GEM will use reliable information and its best judgment in determining when the sirens will be set off and asks citizens to be understanding about the system’s limitations.

“We feel that Grayson is fortunate to have the ability to warn the public when the threat of danger is a possibility, and we hope that citizens become familiar with our siren procedures,” Dunfee said.

For questions contact Dunfee at 474-5444.

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