Saturday, October 09, 1999

Sirens installed after tornado

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The deadly tornado that tore through northern Hamilton County has since pushed other Tristate communities to move quickly to install storm sirens.

        Though area emergency services officials regret the deaths and destruction, they said that the storm's thin silver lining is that it prompted many local officials to move on creating or expanding their outdoor warning systems.

        “We will relive it (the tornado) again someday. That's important for everyone to remember,” said Frank Young, Warren County's director of emergency services. The tornado also cut a swath through southern Warren County.

        “Although it was tragic, it served as a point of thought for many people,” said Mr. Young.

        Mr. Young said that since the tornado, many communities in Warren County have acted to install their first tornado siren system or to add sirens.

        Last month Middletown city commissioners voted to buy and install 10 emergency sirens. The city of more than 55,000 residents was the largest southwest Ohio community to not have sirens.

        By the time next tornado season rolls around in the spring, Warren County is expected to double its number of sirens from 14 to 28.

        The trend spread to Trenton, in Butler County. Its city council voted 6-1 Thursday to buy a pair of tornado sirens — the first for the community of more than 8,000.

        Don Maccarone, director of Hamilton County's Emergency Management, said he welcomes the actions of some municipalities — Evendale, Loveland and Symmes Township — to add sirens at their own expense in preparation for next year's tornado season. Hamilton County has 175 sirens.

        During the April tornado, eight sirens in Hamilton County did not sound due to mechanical problems or power outages.e

        Mr. Maccarone said the procedure for sounding Hamilton County sirens has changed so that the alarms now blare for five minutes, rather than three, when dangerous weather is approaching.

        The tornado also has had an impact on Northern Kentucky.

        In fast-growing Kenton County, emergency management officials hope to enter next tornado season with at least 25 new tornado sirens — only three sirens are considered operational.

        Boone County has 29 sirens, said emergency officials, with Florence, Burlington, Hebron and Union having installed their first sirens.

        Campbell County emergency officials are planning to increase the number of sirens there from two — with eight firehouse sirens also doubling as tornado alarms — to 18 new sirens by the end of 2000.

        Newport, which has no tornado sirens, is scheduled to have three such alarms installed.

        Current tornado siren totals for other Tristate counties and expansion plans:

        • Symmes Township, which was hit by the April tornado, had no sirens but is installing four.

        • Loveland is adding two sirens to its current pair.

        • Evendale is installing its first siren.

        • Clermont County is increasing its number of sirens from 14 to 23, with Batavia Township adding four, and Amelia and Pierce Township adding one siren each.

        • Butler County had 31 sirens before the tornado but now has 32 — New Miami in St. Clair Township added one recently.

        A number of communities — including Union, Libertyand Oxford townships and the city of Oxford — have recently acted to install their first sirens or plan to add to existing emergency systems.

        • Dearborn County had 15 sirens, but recently officials in Caesars Creek Township added one, raising the total to 16.

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