Thursday, October 05, 2000

Sirens may be blaring by Dec.


New system costs Fairfield $215,000

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD — City Council is expected to replace eight emergency warning sirens with high-tech ones.

        Fire Chief Donald Bennett expects council to pass an ordinance Tuesday authorizing the purchase of 10 sirens for about $215,000.

        About a month ago, Chief Bennett made a presentation to council members about the system, which he said is outdated.

        “The indications are that council is 100 percent in support of it,” said Chief Bennett, who has led the department nearly 17 years.

        “We've proposed that they pass this as an emergency in order for us to get the contract signed, get all the components ordered, and hopefully begin installation probably in December, if not the first of January.”

        Councilman Steven Miller thinks council will support a new siren system.

        “It's all for the safety of the residents,” he said.

        “Especially after what's happened in Xenia (Ohio) with that tornado, I think it's important that we look into this and move forward on it to make sure we've got a good, sound working system in place.”

        Said Councilman Jeffrey Holtegel: “If it saves one life, it's worth it to me.”

        Chief Bennett said the eight sirens were installed in the late 1960s.

        A consultant told fire officials they should have about 10 sirens to cover a 1-mile radius each.

        “You can imagine in 32 years how much growth and expansion has occurred in the city,” he said. “The sirens reflect technology, services and components that were available in the late '60s.

        “The new sirens have battery backup systems, which ... will allow for two to three days of standby power.”

        Mr. Bennett said the sirens also come with a control module that does around-the-clock electronic polling.

        “It sends out a signal ... to make sure that everything's OK,” he said. “In the event something is wrong — let's say we lost electrical power, there's some question of the battery backup or someone's tampered with the siren — an audible and visual signal will be indicated and dispatched.

        “In comparison, Xenia had six of their sirens not activate during their most recent storm. It's been reported that those sirens didn't activate because they didn't have power.”

        One person was killed in Xenia's Sept. 20 tornado.

       



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