Emergency sirens to be tested monthlyCarlton County Emergency Preparedness Director Brian Belich recently announced that there will now be monthly testing of the emergency sirens in Cloquet, Scanlon, Carlton, Wrenshall, Barnum, Kettle River and Moose Lake.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
If you keep the radio on in your office or home, you’ll no doubt recognize the familiar sound of the monthly test of the Emergency Alert System. Its distinctive lead-in tone is enough to make you sit up and take notice, even as you mentally calculate if there’s an impending disaster or whether it’s simply the first week of the month designated for the regular test drill.
For those who are out and about town, however, one of the best warning systems is still the audible emergency siren system located in several communities throughout Carlton County. To make certain that system is more reliable, Carlton County Emergency Preparedness Director Brian Belich recently announced that there will now be monthly testing of the emergency sirens in Cloquet, Scanlon, Carlton, Wrenshall, Barnum, Kettle River and Moose Lake.
The sirens will be set off the first Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. Belich said prior to this time, the sirens had not been tested on a regular basis – often only as a test drill during the annual Severe Weather Awareness Day every April – leaving the system vulnerable to the possibility of malfunction in between times.
In 2010, the city of Rochester, Minn., had 10 of its emergency warning sirens fail to sound in the minutes before a tornado struck the northwestern edge of the city. Officials blamed it on a software glitch that told the sirens to cancel. Thankfully, no one was injured.
That same year in Duluth, the emergency sirens sounded when no tornado warning had been issued for the city. Instead, the warning was intended for Floodwood, which was within the warning zone, but once again, faulty software was to blame for the mix-up. Belich said regular testing should help alleviate some of these types of issues before an actual emergency should occur.
Also, in the past some of the communities in Carlton County have used their warning sirens to page first responders.
“This will no longer be the case,” said Belich. “At this time these sirens will only be used for notifying the public of an emergency situation, and they should tune in to their local television or radio stations for more information.”
In the case of an actual weather emergency, the county’s emergency sirens are activated through the Emergency Dispatch System as soon as the National Weather Service issues a weather warning for the area, or when a funnel cloud has been sighted by someone in the county and reported to authorities.
For more information, contact Belich at 218-384-3236.