Emergency Management News

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Altus Sirens

Recently, an area resident inquired about the sirens here.  

Thank you for this opportunity to address your concerns about sirens in the City of Altus.

You wrote "I could barely hear sirens with the doors open.  If it was at night or doors were closed I would not be able to hear it.  Are there additional sirens that were not sounded?"

While there was insufficient data in the query to fully answer your question, I will address some very obvious concerns in this missive.

First, attached is the siren map for the City.  In my opinion, the sirens in Altus need improvement but there are sufficient numbers to warn the majority of the population centers in the community.  The work I would recommend the City do would be in using more modern technology.  

Second, and more important, PLEASE do not rely on sirens for indoor warning.  Sirens are intended to be OUTDOOR warning only.  The response to a siren should always be to go indoors, turn on your radio to a local radio or television to a local station to learn why the sirens were sounded and get direction for what to do about it.

Third, the data that was missing in your inquiry was "When did the sirens sound?".  On the City Facebook page April 6, this note was posted:  "Due to overcast conditions, there will be NO siren test in the City of Altus today." http://on.fb.me/1aZMZQx  

I don't like to sound the sirens unnecessarily.  IF they go off, there MUST be a purpose for them.  They are sounded according to the City and County Emergency Operations Plan.

Therefore, if you heard a siren in Altus in April, it was not a City of Altus siren sounding.  Perhaps you heard a siren on Altus Air Force Base.  They test their sirens regularly and residents on the east side of Altus can hear them while outside.  Without knowing when the siren was heard, it will be hard to identify the source.

Lastly, it has been my recommendation to residents to have at least THREE ways to get warnings.  I do not recommend sirens as one of the three.  Those three could include All-Hazards weather radios ... http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/ ... the Community Alerting System ... https://alertaltus.bbcportal.com/ ... or your favorite weather, TV, newspaper, or radio station app for your phone.

The weather radios sit quietly on your table and alert when properly programmed for the hazard facing that location.  The City Alerting system ... and others not operated by the City ... send email and text messages with alerts.  Services such as WeatherCall will call your phones for a warning.  EmergencyEmail and the local Skywarn group offer email weather service.  Some of these services are free, ex. the City of Altus, except for your cell phone provider's cost related to text and data while others come with a cost, ex. WeatherCall.

I trust this reply addresses your concerns appropriately.

Again, thank you for this opportunity to be of service.


Lloyd Colston   director
Altus Emergency Management

1 comment:

Lloyd Colston said...

Can we review how one can get warnings in #AltusOK without a siren?

Offer SMS and/or email notification

IF you insist on a telephone call, please subscribe to WeatherCall ... http://www.weathercall.net

Your area television, radio, and newspapers offer weather information and warnings.

Your local amateur radio operators can be heard at
along with local public safety users.