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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

AHAB Siren Updates: Volunteers Sought

PCEMA Deputy Director Scott McDougall and Jessica Rowlett the PCEMA AmeriCorps Service Member visited North Cove yesterday to monitor and verify that the AHAB Sirens in the North Cove area activated properly as part of the monthly test that occurs on the first Monday of each month. Each month we have a network of volunteers that report on the status of each siren. At this time, we are seeking volunteers to monitor sirens in the North Cove vicinity. If you are interested, please contact Scott McDougall at smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us.

There are 18 sirens located in coastal locations throughout Pacific County. All 18 activated properly during yesterday’s test.  The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency and the Washington State Emergency Management Division monitor these sirens through online silent testing and diagnostic programs on a daily basis and siren maintenance is an ongoing and nearly constant process.

Many people noticed yesterday that four sirens on the Long Beach Peninsula activated “late”. The signal activating the sirens is sent at noon or as close to noon as possible and it is sent only once. Siren activation times depend on the total amount of satellite traffic as well as atmospheric conditions and can vary by a few minutes from point to point.

The question has been raised: does this shorten my time to respond in the case of an emergency? The answer to that question is no. In the event of a tsunami generated by a distant source the AHAB sirens will activate when the National Tsunami Warning Center issues a “tsunami warning” which is planned to provide three hours’ notice, an adequate time for community response. In the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone event do not depend on the AHAB sirens. The ground shaking should serve as your warning.   

It is also important to remember that the AHAB sirens are simply one layer (an outdoor warning) in a tiered warning system that utilizes the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, the Pacific County Emergency Alert System and NOAA Emergency Alert Radios. PCEMA works to ensure that emergency notification is received by several means, recognizing that no system will ever be 100% effective. Nothing can replace personal responsibility and situational awareness.

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