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    Default Tornado/Warning Siren

    My community is in need of a tornado siren and I'm in need of some narratives and suggestions.

    We had a old type 50 federal siren but it died over a year ago. I have some local grants that are due very shortly. I would like to replace with a modern day unit that is DC powered and that can be tripped off in the field or by our L.E.C. communication center if need be.
    I've already had a demo done in our town and got 2 quotes.

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    There is a National Weather Service grant out there that I bet someone comments on, as I know he's familiar with it. It's ran through the state and is dependant on population density. We were looking hard at it, but we have too much population within our town to pull it off it looks like. I'm going to do some more number crunching before next year to see what we can pull off. If I can dig up the info on it I'll forward it to you.

    I know of a nearby department that utilized USDA Rural Development grant money to purchase one. That's likely going to be our next avenue.

    What we're looking at is one that's powered by batteries and have a charging system off the pole (which sounds like what you're describing). I'm sold on those after we had 4 different tornadoes go through our area one January. The first knocked out the power to town, so we had no siren whatesoever. These things were stacked so tight we had about 30 minutes to check for injuries along the tracks and then had to go to town to warn them another was coming using the PA's on the trucks.

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    I’m probably the person that Catch is talking about in his post. As he said there is a grant from the NWS for Rural storm sirens. The grant is geared toward rural areas with a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile. In most states the application has to go through your state Emergency Management Agency.

    Here is a link to the announcement on Grants.gov
    http://www07.grants.gov/search/searc...8548&mode=VIEW

    As of this morning though the Grants.gov site is showing to be down for maintenance until 2/10.

    The USDA Rural Development program is the way a lot of our clients are able to install their sirens. The company that I work for with my “real job” has installed a couple of hundred sirens under the USDA program.

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    Thanks

    I checked into the USDA grant ,but it will only pay 15% if that.

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    The USDA or block grants might be your best way.

    As you probably are aware, they are not eligible under AFG.

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    FEMA isn't buying them either under Disaster Mitigation at last look.

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    I've got one I'll give you if you're in dire need, looks like we're about a 4 hour drive from you. We replaced our old one with a FS Thunderblot a couple years ago, the old one still worked fine when we took it down.

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    Personally, I like the way the old sirens sounded. These new long distance penetration sirens remind of those hand held airhorns that had a vasectomy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OsbornFPD View Post
    I've got one I'll give you if you're in dire need, looks like we're about a 4 hour drive from you. We replaced our old one with a FS Thunderblot a couple years ago, the old one still worked fine when we took it down.
    Hey Bud.....I'll be happy to take it off your hands. I been looking for one to add to my Civil Defense and Fire collection.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmcneill View Post
    I’m probably the person that Catch is talking about in his post. As he said there is a grant from the NWS for Rural storm sirens. The grant is geared toward rural areas with a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile. In most states the application has to go through your state Emergency Management Agency.

    Here is a link to the announcement on Grants.gov
    http://www07.grants.gov/search/searc...8548&mode=VIEW

    As of this morning though the Grants.gov site is showing to be down for maintenance until 2/10.

    The USDA Rural Development program is the way a lot of our clients are able to install their sirens. The company that I work for with my “real job” has installed a couple of hundred sirens under the USDA program.
    You would be right, you're the one I was thinking of. Thanks for saving me having to look for the info!

    If I can ever get this POS civil defense thing we've got replaced I'll see if I can't give it to you if you're interested in it.

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    Fire Prevention & Safety grant when it comes up next. it says
    "Weather/disaster notification devices (sirens etc.)"

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    Quote Originally Posted by OsbornFPD View Post
    I've got one I'll give you if you're in dire need, looks like we're about a 4 hour drive from you. We replaced our old one with a FS Thunderblot a couple years ago, the old one still worked fine when we took it down.
    Sent you a message.

    This was the towns only siren...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmcneill View Post
    Hey Bud.....I'll be happy to take it off your hands. I been looking for one to add to my Civil Defense and Fire collection.

    Mike
    If mtndew doesn't end up taking it for protection we'll talk Mike

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    I wish our county used sirens... I've asked why we could not get some sort of grant to purchase these, with the response that our area is too "hilly", it would take too many sirens to cover the area. A county to our north just replaced 21 sirens, and has the old ones sitting on a lot just gathering dust. I know that more than enough to cover our area, but you cant convince our co. govt of that..... Heres a look at what our friends to the north have taken out of service. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-VlgRdxY_8
    Last edited by fatman22; 02-09-2010 at 07:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatman22 View Post
    I wish our county used sirens... I've asked why we could not get some sort of grant to purchase these, with the response that our area is too "hilly", it would take too many sirens to cover the area. A county to our north just replaced 21 sirens, and has the old ones sitting on a lot just gathering dust. I know that more than enough to cover our area, but you cant convince our co. govt of that..... Heres a look at what our friends to the north have taken out of service. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-VlgRdxY_8
    To be totally honest, the storm sirens have been overplayed (in my opinion) and over relied upon for storm warnings. We get complaints all the time about people not being able to hear our town's siren inside their house. They don't realize that's not it's intent; it's intended to warn those outside that are away from their TV/radio. Half the time people won't even take shelter when we sound it, rather they go outside to see what's going on.

    There's been a big push around our parts for weather radios, and there's a lot more grant money out there for purchasing these as opposed to sirens. I would think this would be more in line with what the FP&S would look at.

    Now, I'm not saying we should disregard the storm sirens, as they are a valuable asset. I just think there should be more of a push for the weather radios for every home and business. If you really think about it, if you take that $20K you'll spend on a siren, you can buy 500 weather radios. Depending on the make-up of your community, you might actually get to more households with the radios and rely on the sirens to warn those away from their radios.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    To be totally honest, the storm sirens have been overplayed (in my opinion) and over relied upon for storm warnings. We get complaints all the time about people not being able to hear our town's siren inside their house. They don't realize that's not it's intent; it's intended to warn those outside that are away from their TV/radio. Half the time people won't even take shelter when we sound it, rather they go outside to see what's going on.

    I've even had 'em call the firehouse and ask why the siren was going off

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    Quote Originally Posted by OsbornFPD View Post
    If mtndew doesn't end up taking it for protection we'll talk Mike
    Not a problem.....I would much rather see it used by someone like mtndew for its intended purpose.

    If not I can definately make room for it on a shelf in my living room........OK maybe i'll have to build a bigger shelf and knock a hole in the roof, but I know some fireman that are good at making big holes in things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokediver6102 View Post
    Fire Prevention & Safety grant when it comes up next. it says
    "Weather/disaster notification devices (sirens etc.)"
    The warning siren has saved a lot of lives, and still continues to have a place and a purpose. That said, in today's world we spend more time inside with air conditioners instead of windows open. Weather radio project is a good idea. Isn't there software that can make mass calls to telephones also? If so i wonder if that could be an eligible item. Percentage of people reached by cell phone and weather radio should be pretty high in today's society.

    earl (just thinking, which clearly shows my ignorance!!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenacres2 View Post
    The warning siren has saved a lot of lives, and still continues to have a place and a purpose. That said, in today's world we spend more time inside with air conditioners instead of windows open. Weather radio project is a good idea. Isn't there software that can make mass calls to telephones also? If so i wonder if that could be an eligible item. Percentage of people reached by cell phone and weather radio should be pretty high in today's society.

    earl (just thinking, which clearly shows my ignorance!!)
    I believe you're talking about Reverse 911 or similar options. We have that option in our county, but it's not cheap and it's not fast. When you only have a certain number of allocated phone lines for outgoing calls, they can get stacked up. The contracted services that send the calls out of another location I don't know much about, but I know there's a cost associated.

    The system I'm familiar with will allow the dispatcher to draw a polygon (in some cases overlay) similar to the one the NWS has for the warning. From there, they record the message and send it.

    We haven't used it for tornadoes yet and may not until we do some more cost studies for such a thing. However, we are working toward having it available for haz-mat incidents to do notifications for evacuations or shelter-in-place situations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenacres2 View Post
    The warning siren has saved a lot of lives, and still continues to have a place and a purpose. That said, in today's world we spend more time inside with air conditioners instead of windows open. Weather radio project is a good idea. Isn't there software that can make mass calls to telephones also? If so i wonder if that could be an eligible item. Percentage of people reached by cell phone and weather radio should be pretty high in today's society.

    earl (just thinking, which clearly shows my ignorance!!)
    The Town has in place a "Reverse 911" system that can contact residents by phone with a recorded message especially for emergency notifications (not sure about cell phones though).

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    The Town has in place a "Reverse 911" system that can contact residents by phone with a recorded message especially for emergency notifications (not sure about cell phones though).
    We had that type of system for a while before it became too expensive to keep up. It was never really reliable and you had to have a way to input private and cell phone numbers. Most of those work systems off of published numbers only, like your 911 center has access too.
    The lack of ability to do the number of calls required in a given time period is a big draw back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmcneill View Post
    Not a problem.....I would much rather see it used by someone like mtndew for its intended purpose.

    If not I can definately make room for it on a shelf in my living room........OK maybe i'll have to build a bigger shelf and knock a hole in the roof,
    I guaruntee you'll need a bigger shelf, it'd 6' tall and weighs a couple hundred pounds easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    The Town has in place a "Reverse 911" system that can contact residents by phone with a recorded message especially for emergency notifications (not sure about cell phones though).
    The big problem with reverse 911 calling systems is the time it takes for the auto dialer to get through the list. We have it here through our dispatch center and last year during a 5 day power outage it took as much as 24 hours before it called the 4500 phone #'s in town.
    Not very good for severe storm warning.

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    modern reverse 911 systems are not very limited, and are actually quite speedy. With a data connection to your off site database, they then have a big bandwidth solution to the PSTN, and the calls go out hundreds at a time - if not more. They are not limited to the phone lines at the PSAP.

    Older systems suck.

    Personally, I am unimpressed with any of them. Too many people going to cell phones.

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    Several I've seen tie into text messaging since that's a quick operation and in many cases IP based. Alphapaging system from old-old dept was an email setup and could define various groups with different addresses. Dispatchers were using the web interface to type everything in and me being the software nerd I wrote a desktop app with radio buttons and checkboxes so that other than the address and map page being typed it was all mouse clicks. Much easier one handed. Being neither here nor there, point is was quick and easy to hit everyone in one shot either alphapagers or cell phones with the messages. No dialing either.

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