EMA relying on call system to get out severe weather warnings

File Photo
File Photo

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency officials say they are one month away from completing county-wide emergency siren updates.

The project will ultimately replace 131 sirens used to alert citizens to tornado watches and sightings. Additional sirens are also being installed in rural locations like Crosby Township and Harrison Township.

Dana Schratt, who is leading the project, says 102 sirens have been installed and are waiting on an electrical inspection before they can be put in use. Seven others have received permits but are not yet online.

Schratt says 22 additional sirens are awaiting permits required to install the devices on buildings. Schratt says that process has been delayed due to the completion of roof mounts.

She says the old system was only operating at 80 to 85 percent. With 19 units offline, Schratt says the system is now operating at 72 to 75 percent.  To ensure they reach as many residents as possible in the case of an emergency, Schratt says they are also using a reverse notification system which uses a phone system to alert residents. Citizens without a land line can sign a cell phone number up through the county EMA's website.

Sixty-two additional sirens are awaiting upgrades so that they are fully compatible with the new system.

Along with new sirens, the county has also been divided into six zones instead of the previous four to make sure warnings are as targeted as possible during emergencies.

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