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home : news : greenwood May 26, 2016

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4/24/2013 4:29:00 AM
Fate of emergency sirens discussed
Derek Kinney, Director of Emergency Services for Greenwood County presents information to Council regarding emergency siren throughout the county.
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Derek Kinney, Director of Emergency Services for Greenwood County presents information to Council regarding emergency siren throughout the county.

Council heard several options on dealing with antiquated emergency siren throughout Greenwood County.  Director of Emergency Services, Derek Kinney along with George McKinney, Emergency Management Coordinator presented to council several issues relating to the current sirens.  In this presentation Kinney explained the original purpose for these sirens were for civil defense warnings.  Some time later Greenwood County added procedures to sound the sirens for weather alerts.  Kinney said the sirens are basically design to alert those outside their homes in case of an emergency.

Over the years the County has tested these sirens and found sometimes certain ones did not operate properly.  Some citizens complain that they never hear the sirens.  So now the issue is how to proceed, should the County fix the current sirens or replace the system with new technology.

McKinney explained there are several limitations and problems with the current sirens.  Some limitations are distance (basically sounds a little over a mile), no backup power supply, weather conditions dampen their effect and people indoors or in vehicles can’t hear them. 

The age of the sirens present further problems.  It may be difficult or impossible to find parts explained McKinney.  Also they have not been narrow banded yet which is required now and ensure other devices do not activate them by accident.

The current status of the sirens is also an unknown as they have not been tested since June of 2012 and no maintenance performed since 2011. 

In summary, for the County to check and inspect all sirens Kinney projects the cost to be around $43.6 thousand.

Kinney informed Council that there are currently several ways to stay inform about emergencies from weather radios to text alerts and alert registrations with local media outlets.  Kinney said the best thing they can do is help educate the residents on all of the options currently available.

“We need a formal plan” stated Councilman Steve Brown.  “We have a responsibility to the residents” he said as council all agreed to allow Emergency Services to further investigate the best path forward to help ensure the safety of Greenwood residents. 

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Miriam Stewart

In the 70's I can remember the police department having to ride down the neighborhood asking citizens to take cover. That was pretty scary!

Personally I believe the sirens have and can save lives. If one life is saved , just one, that life is worth more the money quoted to check and repair the existing sirens.

Everyone does not have a cell phone, landline phones do not always work during power outages even short ones, weather radios are great but the have to have power or batteries which many people will forget.

The existing sirens have given my family a sense of peace over the years. I hope they will be given fair consideration. Technology is great but has to be looked at carefully when lives are involved. Take time and made the right decision.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: scktt whitted

we still need some type of alert in case of power failure or people that or cannot afford cell phones or a computer, We added a 1 cent sale tax for other things then why not add it for the cost of a new alert system. We dont have a warnng system for when the gas prices goes up or when food prices go up at least lets have some kind of warning when there are danger of a tornado.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Gina Wagoner

I signed up for the GwdToday e-alert system. They will send a text message to notify of the weather or emergency.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: William Hill

I agree that the present system is no longer an option. The place I live notifies the residents by telephone (bothe land line and cell) and also by email. Most people have a home phone or cell home and this type of notification will allow contact even if they are out of town. All we had to do was register with the city

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