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New weather Siren at Commonwealth brings total up to 15 county wide

 

There are 15 total functioning weather sirens now installed in Hancock County that have replaced all of the older sirens in the county.

The sirens were delivered in late February and the cost, after the help of grants, was around $55K, shared between Hancock County Fiscal Court and Commonwealth Rolled Products.

Testing vs. Actual Emergency

The weekly siren tests are at noon every Friday, and last 30-60 seconds. In the event of severe weather, a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning for example, the sirens will go off for a full 3 minutes.

Of the new sirens installed, there are those that replaced 3 inoperable sirens in the southern part of the county in Roseville and Easton, as well as one at Commonwealth. Director of HC Emergency Management Kyle Veach said, “This is just a great partnership between one of our local industries and the HC Fiscal Court to provide safety for our community during severe weather, as well as the employees of Commonwealth. We hope to see partnerships like this continue, and to grow this partnership that we have right here.”

Commonwealth Health Manager Parvin Phillips, HC Emergency Management Director Kyle Veach and Terry Dossett, McLean County Emergency Mgmt. Director.

Around the middle of last year, a collaborative effort began to get Commonwealth approved to have a weather siren on the property. Veach and others were able to get the state’s approval through some grants and funding, along with Commonwealth’s contribution to the project to get the weather siren put onsite at the plant, which is connected to Hancock County Dispatch.

Commonwealth Health Manager Parvin Phillips said that with the total workforce of 1,150 employees and with the fact that on any given day there could be approximately 400 onsite, the threat of a weather emergency is always present. Tornados and severe thunderstorms could put the plant in jeopardy as well as the safety of their employees.

 

Siren at Commonwealth – Heard within 2-mile radius

The weather siren has been installed at the plant, it’s functional and is going to provide another level of safety for the people onsite and the surrounding community. According to the test that was ran recently, the siren at the plant can be heard over 2 miles away, which is an added benefit to the community as a whole to alert citizens of the potential that severe weather could be present.

When the weather sirens are activated, there are secure places for employees to ride out the storm in safety, Phillips added. There are over a dozen spots, designated “muster points” onsite, where they have tornado shelters installed inside the plant.

Based on the operations and some of the intricacies of what they do at the plant, it could be detrimental to just stop and walk away, he said. They don’t have the luxury to always do that, so all employees are educated annually. They do emergency preparedness training this time every year, and review the designated muster points, share information with all of the employees and make sure they know where to go in the event of an emergency.

By Jennifer Wimmer

 

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