Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Siren Test Friday the 13th at 11:45 a.m.

Our first test of the new emergency warning siren will take place this Friday the 13th at 11:45 a.m. Here is a fact sheet on the siren.

Emergency Warning Siren Information:

The Town of Fairfax has installed the first of three emergency warning sirens in the Corporation Yard behind Town Hall. These sirens are designed to warn residents during a wildland fire, flood or other local emergency.

The warning siren is a Federal Signal Corporation Eclipse8 siren and is mounted atop a 70 foot pole. With 360 degree omni-directional coverage, it is expected to reach one mile in all directions.

The warning siren will be tested the first Friday of each month at 11:45am for 30 seconds.

In the event of an emergency, the siren will sound for three minutes. Tune into local radio or television stations for information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What do the sirens look like?
    The siren resembles a large bell turned on its side, sitting on a small platform. The siren can be viewed from by standing on the sidewalk on Park Road, and looking to the left of the Fire Station, between the Fire Station and the Fire Station parking lot (which now houses the temporary Town Hall at 14 Park Road).
  2. What kind of sound will the siren make?
    The sound is a steady signal. Initially, it will sound like a fire truck siren, then increase in pitch and sound a constant tone signal until the alert is complete. At the end of the 3-minute alert, the siren will shut down. During the shutdown, the siren will decrease in pitch for 20-30 seconds until it turns off.
  3. What does it mean when I hear a siren?
    A siren sound alert means that there is an emergency in your area, potentially dangerous condition or impending threat. You should turn the radio and tune into local emergency broadcast news stations KGO (810AM), KCBS (740AM), KNBR (680AM) or local TV stations and listen for instructions. Emergencies could be a wildfire, flooding, a large building fire with toxic smoke or a chemical release into the air.
  4. If I'm inside my home or office, will I hear the siren?
    The siren system is primarily designed to alert people outdoors. Some people will be able to hear the siren indoors, depending on how close the indoor location is to the nearest siren and depending on the volume of other noise indoors, such as a TV, radio, or machinery, and whether windows are open or closed.
  5. If I'm driving, will I hear the siren?
    It depends on how close you are to the siren when it goes off and whether your car windows are open or closed. You may or may not hear the siren.
  6. How will I be affected if I'm standing near the siren when it is activated?
    The sirens are very loud and no one should stay close to them during an activation. The sirens are installed in accordance with FEMA guidelines, which means that they are mounted approximately 45 feet above ground, so that if you are standing underneath it, no harmful permanent hearing damage will occur. Also, the siren rotates during activation, so that the loud sound level will occur in a single direction for a short period of time.
  7. What is the sound range of the siren?
    The siren sound range is approximately 1 mile. The sound range will vary based on location and conditions, such as hill terrain, a tall building or high outdoor noise levels.
  8. The siren points away from my area, so how will I hear it?
    The sirens are a directional design to project a more powerful sound alert in a specific direction. During activation the sirens will rotate 360 degrees to provide sound coverage in all directions. The siren will rotate 4 times per minute.
  9. How does the siren system operate?
    The sirens will be activated from the police department.
  10. How long will it take to install the siren?
    The first siren has been installed. The other two will be installed after locations have been identified.
  11. Who authorized or approved this particular site?
    The Fairfax Planning Commission approved this site after discussions with the vendor and recommendations from town staff about the best location for the siren.
  12. When will the rest of the sirens be installed and where?
    The other two sirens will be installed after locations are determined.
  13. Who should I call with questions?

Questions on the siren may be directed to Fairfax Town Hall at 453-1584. After business hours, questions may be directed to the Fairfax Police Department at 453-5330.