City to Begin Monthly Storm Siren Testing - The Missourian: Union

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City to Begin Monthly Storm Siren Testing

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Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013 6:32 pm | Updated: 9:15 pm, Tue Nov 5, 2013.

By Gregg Jones

Union Missourian Editor

The first round of monthly storm siren tests are set for Monday morning.

The citywide alerts sirens will sound at 11 a.m., said City Administrator Russell Rost.

“This is a recommendation from our maintenance company,” he said. “If we have a malfunction, we will detect it quicker.”

The test will be conducted the first Monday of each month at 11 a.m., at the same time as tests in Parkway Village.

Rost explained that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office triggers the sirens, and conducts tests simultaneously for the two entities which is more convenient for the county department.

If there is inclement weather, or the potential for storms, at a scheduled testing time the sirens will not be tested then.

According to Rost, the maintenance company, Blue Valley Public Safety, suggested the monthly tests following the installation of narrowband receivers in all of the sirens.

There are six city-owned sirens, as well as a siren at East Central College and a siren inside the Esselte plant.

He said the city will coordinate the test with ECC and Esselte to ensure they want to join in the test.

Rost has said some cities test sirens daily, and others test only on the first day of the month. It was suggested that the sirens be tested the first Monday of each month so the tests were not conducted during the weekend.

Siren Updates

In May, the sirens were changed to the same frequency used at the sheriff’s office.

Rost explained that notification of severe weather is dispatched by the sheriff’s office and then transmitted to siren receivers. Prior to the upgrade, the receivers were capable of receiving broadband frequency transmissions, but the transmissions sent by the sheriff’s office are narrowband. Each of the severe weather sirens now are narrowband.

According to Rost, the sirens are important to notify people who are outside, but CodeRED is the primary emergency notification source.

CodeRED

According to Rost, the best way to be notified of severe weather in the area is through CodeRED.

The alert system notifies residents through a phone call of severe weather, other emergencies or important announcements.

Rost said that some residents would prefer not to receive phone calls for each severe weather situation, but users can pick and choose when they are notified.

Four years ago, the city began using CodeRED and in 2011, the fire district entered into a joint agreement with the city to offer the service to its residents.

CodeRED receives weather broadcasts from the National Weather Service (NWS), while en route to television and radio stations.

Those within the fire protection district, which encompasses all of the Union city limits, can sign up at the city’s website, www.ci.union.mo.us, or at the fire district’s website, www.unionfd.org.

Sign-up is free and is only required with one of the entities.

The city’s severe weather alert calls are triggered by the NWS.

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