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February 25, 2013

Council to address sirens again

GREENVILLE — The City Council intends Tuesday to talk some more about Greenville’s emergency sirens and the CodeRED emergency calling system.

Police Chief Daniel J. Busken is set to lead the discussion during the work session, starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. The regular agenda begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Most of the sirens designed to warn Greenville residents of the impending arrival of severe weather passed their latest scheduled test on February 7. One of the five sirens at local parks was out of commission, but was awaiting parts. The other four sirens that the city is responsible were found to be operating normally.

Two more sirens are located at L-3 Communications Integrated Systems at Majors Field Municipal Airport. The City of Greenville is not responsible for the maintenance and operation of the sirens, but participates in the monthly tests of the units.

Neither of the sirens worked during the test earlier this month.

The City of Greenville’s sirens are located at Graham Park, 800 Walnut Street;  Middleton Park, Spencer/Gibbons; Wright Park, 5501 Highway 69 South, the Sports Park, 3901 Leo Hackney Boulevard; Oak Creek Park, 10000 Aerobic Lane; with two at L-3 Communications, 10000 Jack Finney Boulevard.

The current sirens were installed in 2002 for a cost of $90,000 and were expected to have a 20-year life span.

Fire Chief Doug Caison has estimated it would take about $20,000 just to get the system fully operational. Completely refurbishing the five sirens owned by the city would cost about $74,000. Replacing all of the current sirens with brand new sirens would cost an estimated $157,000.

Expanding the system citywide, which Caison said would mean a dozen sirens, would cost a minimum of $400,000, but that would not mean residents would be able to hear them from inside their homes.

The outdoor sirens are designed to create an audible sound to alert people who are most likely outside of life threatening events, and are not designed to alert people in buildings or vehicles.

The tests of the emergency sirens are normally conducted at 10 a.m. during the first Thursday of each month.

A fire engine is set up at four of the seven locations to make sure the sirens are working properly. At three other sites, the emergency dispatch calls a pre-determined business to see if the sirens were heard.

 Internal tests are performed through out the month and prior to severe weather to check the siren’s  performance status.

Tests are also being conducted weekly through the dispatch system, which is not audible.

The city also uses the CodeRED system to warn citizens of major weather events. CodeRED is an automatic telephone notification system that can dial up to 60,000 numbers per hour.

Additional information concerning the CodeRED system is available on the City of Greenville web site at www.ci.greenville.tx.us/CodeRED.

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