Siren tests bring no surprises
MidStates Communications of Fargo completed the spring function test of the West Fargo Outdoor Warning Sirens last week and found few surprises.
While some minor maintenance issues were identified the system worked as designed. Testing will be done again this fall. The system does receive daily operational checks at noon. If you believe the outdoor siren in your neighborhood is not operating properly call the West Fargo Police Department, 433-5500, to report the problem.
The City of West Fargo recently put its newest outdoor warning siren into operation near Freedom Elementary School bringing the total number of sirens in the city to ten. An eleventh siren is planned in the near future for the Meadowbrook Park area in the northwestern corner of West Fargo.
There is a pattern relating to siren location based on an engineering study. The study uses factors such as the siren's height and the audio transmission capabilities of the siren to develop an overlapping coverage pattern of where the siren may be heard.
As the city has grown new sirens have been added to ensure homes and businesses are within the warning siren coverage area.
Outdoor warning siren are used to alert the public who are outdoors of a danger that is present or approaching the West Fargo area. The danger may be a man made disaster such as a train derailment or a weather related event like a tornado.
When a warning siren is activated persons outdoors should seek shelter and tune to a local media station to receive important information. While some people may be able to hear an outdoor warning siren from within their home or business, all people should use other warning systems while indoors to alert them to emergency events occurring in the community. Local radio or television stations, weather alert radios, computer applications or the Code Red warning system are all good choices for that purpose.
People should be prepared and have a plan for at home and at work or school should they hear an outdoor warning siren. Know where to find a sturdy structure that provides adequate protection from the threat. Develop a disaster kit based on information provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) http://www.fema.gov/what-mitigation/plan-prepare or the American Red Cross http://www.redcrossstore.org/shopper/ProdList.aspx?LocationId=1.
Inform family members and business associates of your plan so they can be protected also. Practice the plan so that you know the plan works and there are no surprises when an actual emergency occurs. Being prepared can save your life.
Mike Reitan, assistant police chief, WFPD