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Storm Siren Relocated
May 15, 2013

The storm siren located near Chilli Bay Water Park has been relocated to the intersection of Lambert Drive and Country Club Drive. The move of the siren is to allow for expansion of the new water park facility. The city worked with Blue Valley Public Safety to make sure adequate siren coverage would continue to be provided in the area. The public should notice changes to the siren coverage in that area. 

Storm Sirens Pass the Test
April 5, 2012 CT

C-T File Photo

The Chillicothe Fire Department is reporting that the storm siren test on Wednesday went well, with all sirens performing as expected.

There may have been a little confusion as the CFD sounded the monthly
test and then the actual warning, said Fire Chief Darrell Wright. "I know some folks called, inquiring about an actual warning," he said. "But, I felt it was needed to test the warning mode before a storm." The storm siren system is new and had never had the warning mode activated. In the future, when sirens are tested, the department will sound the siren with the voice sirens, stating test only. The voice will only be sounded in the warning mode for a tornado warning.

The chief reminds residents that the storm sirens are for outdoor warnings and that every home should have some type of alert for indoor warnings. The TEXTCASTER service or a weather radio is recommended.

If the sirens sound at any time other than 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, Wright urges everyone to take cover immediately. The system is new and sounds a little different than the old system.

Anyone with questions about the sirens or storm shelters should contact the fire department at 660-646-2139.

New Storm Sirens Used; Programming Adjustments Will Be Made
March 14, 2012

The city of Chillicothe tested their new storm siren warning system Tuesday (March 13). "They did all go off," said Chillicothe Fire Chief Darrell Wright. "They didn't go off in alert mode, though. They went off in test mode. A lot of people didn't think they were very loud."

Wright says that the problem arose from a programming error on the part of Blue Valley Public Safety and that these instances are the reason why siren testings are important. Persons were stationed at each of the city's 11 sirens. "We thought that the test mode would say 'This is a test,' and then it would go into the regular warning." Instead, Wright says, what the public was treated to on Tuesday afternoon was little more than a "bump test." That was not what they expected, but it is something that can be easily fixed. "I don't know if it was quieter [than the regular siren would be]," Wright said. "It was just a beeping sound, though. That doesn't carry."

"[Blue Valley] is going to come back out and reprogram [the system]," he said. "But since the city just bought them, people don't think they're very loud now." Wright said that he has contacted Mayor Chuck Haney, requesting that each individual siren be re-tested and adjusted for volume and proper sound, especially in the parks, where the national anthem would be played. He expects resistance from Chillicothe's citizens regarding the time of day he will run the tests, but wants to get them working properly for when circumstances call for them.

A problem previously associated with the old siren system was its inconsistency in sounding at all locations during testing and use. Many of those sirens, however, were from the 1950 and 1960s. The new project has cost $133,960, per city auditor Theresa Kelly. "Either way, I think we'll just do it, and get it right," he said. "We haven't heard the full sound yet."

Chillicothe Police Station, Fire Dept. Hold New Siren Training
03 07 12 by Drew Van Dyke, C-T Writer

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

CAPTION: Dave Cates (middle, pointing to computer screen), a service manager with Blue Valley Public Safety, met with persons at the Chillicothe Police Department and (above) the Chillicothe Fire Department on Tuesday discussing the city's new storm siren warning system and answering questions. The city has 11 sirens. The system can warn citizens, as well as play the national anthem. It also shows when sirens may be defective, or offline, and in need of repair.

Two informative personnel meetings regarding Chillicothe's new storm siren system took place at the Chillicothe Police Department and Chillicothe Fire Department buildings before noon on Tuesday. The training sessions brought together multiple officers, firefighters, and EMS workers in the Chillicothe area. Blue Valley Public Safety service manager Dave Cates spoke with both of the departments, guided them through the systems, and answered questions along the way.

The city now has 11 warning sirens, at the following locations: 500 West Mohawk (Green Hills Golf Course), Simpson Park (near the Aquatics Center), 1862 Litton Road (Danner Park), Belair Drive (in the Christensen Addition), at the intersection of Grandview and Webster, atop Chillicothe City Hall, near the intersection of Missouri and Bridge, at the intersection of Mack and Linn (Shaffer Park), Graves Street (Walmart), at the intersection of Industrial and McCormick, and at the intersection of Willow Avenue and Birch Drive (Lowes Acres). The sirens they replaced were from the 1950s and 1960s.

At the training sessions, Cates pointed out the features of the new system, including the playing of the national anthem at the three major ballparks in town, the duration of the system's vocal warnings (only set for one round of repetition), and the siren sounds and durations. Sirens with the BVPS system are set on a three-minute loop. After three minutes, the system must be reactivated again if a siren longer than that timeframe is needed or wanted. The sirens may be engaged via key-box or computer monitor.

Starting the sirens is a three-step process. Persons at the station must first turn a key to the "on" position, then select the corresponding siren button they wish to use (options include: all sirens - tornado, monthly testing, and growl test; electronic park sirens - severe weather, lightning, thunderstorm approaching, thunderstorm warning, National Anthem Simpson Park, National Anthem Danner Park, and National Anthem Shaffer Park; and electronic sirens - tornado watch, tornado warning, HazMat Simpson Park, HazMat Danner Park, HazMat Shaffer Park, HazMat Walmart, and HazMat Industrial Park). He or she must then also press a "send" button, to avoid accidental siren alerts.

Computer monitors within the stations track the condition of the 11 siren entities. Each siren is marked within the computer on a map of the city of Chillicothe with a green dot on their specific location. When the dotturns red, it means that there is a problem with the siren. When the dot turns pink, the siren is not connected to the system. The computers keep logs of each of these changes and alerts, and must always be connected to the siren system, even if it is minimized on the screen, Cates said.

CAPTION: Above is a closer look at the Chillicothe Fire Department's new siren warning panel and key box. To activate the city's warning sirens, present a vocal message, or play the national anthem at ballparks, a person within the station must first turn a key (in the top, right-hand corner of the box), enter the specified command (buttons at right), and then press "send." The three-step process prevents accidental siren usage. Another of these box systems is in the Chillicothe Police Station.

Sirens Installed
02 22 12

C-T Photo / Amanda McKay

Chillicothe Municipal Utilities workers spent most of Tuesday installing the majority of eight new storm sirens throughout Chillicothe. Wednesday morning, crews were finishing the installation by hooking up necessary wiring for each siren while others installed control panels at the fire department and police station. The city council approved the purchase of sirens last fall and accepted a project bid from Blue Valley Public Safety, Inc. for just over $157,600, which covered the cost of purchasing eight new storm sirens, while upgrading three existing storm sirens across  the area. Prior to replacement, the sirens were thoroughly tested. Those replaced were originally installed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Siren Testing
Thursday, August 25, 2011 CT

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Several of Chillicothe's administrative officials were in tow Wednesday morning to test possible locations for new warning siren systems across the city.

Shown are Parks Director Josh Norris, Fire Chief Darrell Wright, and City Administrator Ike Holland looking at possible designs for the new system.

Beside them is a Federal Signal brand "Modulator" (one of their siren systems) mounted to a lift on the back of a company truck for use in sales trips and testing.

City Moves Ahead with Storm Siren Plan
C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke / August 23, 2011

The Chillicothe Fire Department will conduct random tests of storm sirens between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, August 24, 2011, as part of the city's intent to replace its current aging storm siren system. A modular truck is being brought in and will be placed at the sites of the city's current sirens. The mobile siren will then be activated.

"We will be seeing that it works and that we are getting the coverage we need," said Fire Chief Darrell Wright, noting that a siren location may need to be changed, or a new one added. "We want to make sure we get them in the right spots."

This testing is being done as part of the city's plan to seek bids for a new storm siren system. Most of the city's sirens were installed in the 1950s-60s, and replacement parts are rare. Additionally, some sirens have failed to sound when either routinely tested or when an actual warning is issued.

Residents can expect to hear short random tests from several locations throughout the city during Wednesday's testing. Additionally, voice sirens (to provide specific directions as to what to do when sirens are activated during emergencies) will be tested at Simpson, Danner and Shaffer parks.

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