To the editor:
In regards to the outdoor warning sirens being activated on March 11, this was truly an accidental activation from the backup site at the Sheriff's office; Emergency Management had no intervention with this incident until we were notified that the sirens were sounding.
We do apologize for any inconvenience that this caused, We were able to cancel (shut down) the sirens as soon as we knew that the sirens were activated in a timely manner. The outdoor warning system has three redundant activation points; the Leavenworth County Sheriff's dispatch or Leavenworth Police dispatch. The system does not have to be sounded from the Emergency Operations Center.
Our outdoor warning system is being upgraded in the populated portions of the county. The fact the sirens were and will never be designed to be heard indoors. Outdoor warning sirens are designed to alert patrons that are outside of a structure. With the construction of buildings and homes being energy efficient, a siren may not be heard inside. If you live within a very close proximity to a siren you may hear this device.
We cannot prevent a Joplin tornado or a Greensburg, Kan., tornado but we can prepare ourselves in the event any emergency should be knocking at our door. I would highly suggest an all-hazard weather radio to be placed in each home and business as your personal warning device. Each Leavenworth City USD 453 school has an all-hazard weather radio purchased for them which are monitored by a trusted source in each of the buildings.
Our siren system is tested daily behind the scenes with sensors that are transmitted via a computer. We know what the conditions are at each our sirens in the county. Our sirens are maintained by a contractor who specializes in outdoor warning sirens and consults as to the proper location and placement for these outdoor devices. Our current sirens have approximately 2.5-mile radius in coverage and the new sirens will have a 5-mile radius in coverage.
I also want to ensure all that as your Emergency Manager of your County we will continue to be prepared to serve the people of our communities, to continue to provide public education in family preparedness, and awareness. We encourage you to contact us by phone at 913-684-0455 or by email at email@example.com. Please visit Leavenworth County website under the Emergency Management tab and check out the links we have provided to help with preparedness. Our goal is that you are just as prepared for work, school, or play as you would be for a disaster.