The siren sounds: Bemidji gives its new warning system a trial run
BEMIDJI--The sound of emergency sirens could be heard across town Tuesday afternoon as Bemidji tested the capabilities of its new and improved warning system.
BEMIDJI-The sound of emergency sirens could be heard across town Tuesday afternoon as Bemidji tested the capabilities of its new and improved warning system.
"We replaced a 30- to 35-year-old system that had reached the end of its life expectancy," Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoefer said. "We had been having some reliability struggles with the old system."
Instillation of the new system started Aug. 11, as the city had to replace old technology at six existing locations and add two additional siren sites. One of the new sirens was installed on the west end of the city on Division Street near Bemidji High School and the other was placed in the northern part of town near the intersection of Anne Street Northwest and Irvine Avenue Northwest.
"Those sites previously had no sirens and had to rely on other sirens in the city for warning," Hoefer said. "As we continue to grow, we will have to monitor and at times expand the siren system."
On Monday, the city powered up the new sirens and made final programming adjustments before activating them for Tuesday's test. Hoefer said the sirens, which sounded off three times, worked well in their first test and will provide for a larger coverage area.
The largest benefit the new system provides for the city, according to Hoefer, is the ability to observe the status of all eight sirens.
"The technology for the sirens themselves has not changed much over the years but the motors do have more reliability," Hoefer said. "The biggest advantage, though, is the hardware.
"We now have a computer aided system which monitors each site. If we have any issues with them, such as a power failure or break in, we can know about it. We will also know whether the siren is actually going off or not."
The next test for the sirens will be at 1 p.m. on Sept. 2.