Sirens, CodeRED Expansion Considered for Tornadoes
Fire chief says options still in discovery stage.
Avon Lake is currently reviewing options for expanding the possibilities of weather alerts, including installing sirens or expanding CodeRED, the current reverse 911 system.
Avon Lake Fire Chief Glen Eisenhardt will give a formal presentation to City Council in the near future outlining the option—and the cost—to the city.
“There are no recommendations yet,” Eisenhardt said, adding he, Avon Lake Police Chief Dave Owad and members of the city’s Safety Committee are still gathering information.
“We’re trying to determine how to alert for severe weather. There are some concerns about the cost and locations.”
Eisenhardt said several options will be reviewed including adding weather sirens.
Neighboring Avon uses five siren alarms, controlled by its fire department. Avon introduced the CodeRED system to its residents in 2011 to complement the sirens located at Detroit Road, Schwartz Road Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Bob-O-Link Golf Course and All Pro Freight Stadium.
Avon’s alarms are activated when a tornado warning is issued and sound off for three minutes or longer depending on need.
Eisenhardt said if Avon Lake put in sirens it would need to be determined which department, or 9-1-1 would activate the system.
He said the police and fire departments might be busy responding to other issues if there was severe warning.
“The worse thing that could happen would be to have the sirens in place and they don’t go off,” he said. “We don’t have that much time to warn people.”
He said the sirens could provide warning to residents who might not have cell phones on them.
“We’re looking at different communities to see how they work it,” he said. “We want to get the conversation started.”
Eisenhardt would like to first see an increase in CodeRED signups with severe weather season just starting.
CodeRED is essentially high-speed telephone emergency notification system also referred to as a reverse 9-1-1 system. The CodeRED system gives city officials the ability to deliver pre-recorded emergency telephone notification / information messages such as, boil-water notices, missing children and adults, evacuation notices, utility outages, fires, or any other emergency incident where rapid notification is essential.
Avon Lake uses a basic system, but Eisenhardt said the city will review an “add on” service at the cost of approximately $6,200. In that system, residents can sign up for severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado watches, where residents should be aware conditions could result in a tornado and tornado warning, wherea tornado has been detected on radar. The National Weather Service would then tap into the Avon Lake CodeRED system and deliver the alert. Residents have the option to decide if they want all three alerts or tailor it to one or two.