2019) Residents will soon become accustomed to hearing the periodic testing of outdoor sirens, as the City is in the final stages of implementing that feature of its emergency preparedness program.
Approved by the City Council last November and funded in part by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the locations for the sirens are under review by the vendor, Safetycom. The review is part of the FEMA requirements and must meet certain distance and coverage parameters.
Safetycom is a recognized leader in the sale, installation and service of outdoor emergency sirens, having provided these types of systems to various large and small cities including Garland, Fort Worth, Frisco, and Plano as well as several cities in Oklahoma.
“We considered a number of vendors and systems during our selection process,” says City Manager Jason Little. “In the final analysis, both the selected vendor and the sirens they proposed were the most advantageous for our community.”
The sirens chosen for installation are omnidirectional, sending an audio signal in a 360-degree pattern with the same intensity. Because the speakers are stationary and point in all directions while not rotating, they do not require routine maintenance. In addition, the selected sirens are able to convey vocal messages, should that become a necessity during an emergency.
Since electrical service can be interrupted during weather emergencies, the selected sirens are equipped with batteries for continuous service and can utilize solar power to recharge the backup batteries.
While audible testing of the system serves to reassure the community of the presence of the warning system, the system does allow for silent testing and automated system health status. Attached to the tops of concrete poles, the system also eliminates the need to replace creosote poles.
“As soon as the optimum locations for the sirens are determined, based on current and future residential and commercial construction, the timing for the installation and activation will be finalized,” said Little. “Once all of the arrangements are complete, we will communicate the dates for the installation.”
The sirens are part of the City’s emergency preparedness program, under the auspices of the Melissa Fire Department. The program includes plans that specify the roles and responsibilities of the various City departments in the event of an emergency, as well as the coordination between Melissa and FEMA, the state, Collin County, and neighboring municipalities.