Tornado sirens planned for city

Posted By | June 26, 2008 12:00 am


A plan to help protect residents in City of Sparta in the event of severe weather conditions may soon come to fruition after a presentation by Sparta Fire Chief Ed Kay to city officials on Thursday.
Kay explained to members of Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen about their options for ensuring city residents are forewarned of possible tornadoes.
Kay said he contacted some companies that provide this type equipment. One company provided a “rough proposal” that would cover the city and also outlined what would be needed to install the tornado sirens and implement their usage.
The national standard for a tornado siren, according to Kay, is a level of sound of 70 decibels.
One plan showed four circles of coverage, which indicated the area that could be reached by four sirens. Each circle overlapped to ensure adequate coverage. The sites were randomly picked by the company that provided the proposal. Each siren would reach 1-3/4 mile radius at 70 decibels.
The second sheet that showed one siren with the capability of providing 70 decibels at a 2-1/2 mile radius.
“Neither one of those two options actually cover the entire city limits of Sparta,” said Kay. “Basically it ends westward at Highway 111 and north at Turntable Road.
A third sheet was a “footprint” of City of Sparta. Kay took the radius provided by the larger siren and applied that to two locations – the water tank at Mose Drive and the water tank at Baker Park.
“I picked those two locations because of their high elevation in the city, which gives good projection of sound,” said Kay. “And they also have power provided to those locations already.
A third location was indicated, which was the water tank on Story Mountain. However, Kay said the coverage was “redundant” when the same 2-1/2 mile radius was applied to this location. The Mose Drive and Baker Park sites already provided adequate coverage. He also said the siren would be heard even farther than the 2-1/2 mile radius of guaranteed coverage.
Kay said the prices are “rather close” per unit.  The first proposal, with the four smaller units, indicated a price-range of $7,000-$10,000 each, depending on the options that are chosen. Those options would include controller units for the sirens.
“We would probably want the type of controller that would be radio activated,” said Kay. “It would basically be like setting off a pager for a firefighter.”
The estimate of the larger unit was $10,000-$13,000. Kay said purchasing two of the larger units would be less expensive than purchasing four of the smaller units and would also provide a wider radius of coverage. He advised $25,000-$26,000 would be ample funding for the city to allocate in the upcoming fiscal year.
More details about the tornado sirens will be available as soon as city officials make a final decision.

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