The Press Newspaper
Oregon plans to reactivate its emergency alert sirens at each of the city’s three fire stations. The sirens will be sounded whenever there is an emergency response needed between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. to improve public safety.
The alarms will be used as a secondary notification tool for Oregon firefighters in addition to their pagers.
“There’s a lot of road construction going on this summer in Oregon,” said Administrator Mike Beasley. “By sounding the sirens, it accomplishes two things: It’s a backup system for firefighters and they’ll hear those sirens. Also, it lets construction workers and people out driving around the fire stations know that there will be people coming in a hurry,” said Beasley.
He noted an accident that killed a motorist and injured another this month when a truck driven by a volunteer firefighter with the Portage Fire District in Oak Harbor collided with a car while en route to a fire in Clay Center.
“We have been especially aware of traffic problems with the Wheeling Road construction in the area of Fire Station Number 2,” said Fire Chief Ed Ellis. “We want to make sure that the construction crews and those driving in the area of our stations know that there will be firefighters responding and to be more alert.”
Ellis expects to test the process during construction season with a look toward making it permanent as an additional safety measure.
“We believe that this is a responsible approach to help ensure the safety of our residents,” said Mayor Mike Seferian, “by letting them know that first responders are headed to our stations. This puts people on alert when they need to be on alert.
The sirens were deactivated by former Fire Chief Bill Wilkins over two years ago.
Councilman Mike Sheehy said at a council meeting this month that Wilkins deactivated the sirens after some residents living near Fire Station No. 2 complained about the noise.
“They had petitioned to have those sirens silenced, thinking that with the new technologies of pagers, they felt sirens were obsolete and that pagers could easily alert the firemen without creating all the noise for residents,” said Sheehy. “I suspect there will be some fallout with some residents complaining about the reverse policy. We’ll see how that works out. I appreciate the chief’s remarks, especially over there at Fire Station Number 2 with all the construction going on. Maybe it is best that we reintroduce the sirens that keep people alert.”