In May 22-28 issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal ReporterABOVE: Workers prepared to erect one of the sirens at the French Valley industrial park.
The installation of the 18 new advanced warning emergency sirens throughout the county and below Wolf Creek Dam is complete, according to Judge-Executive Mickey Garner, Emergency Management Director H.M. Bottom and Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency Executive Director Bruce B. Brown.
The four sirens below the dam and the 12 inside the county as well as two upgrades in both Russell Springs and Jamestown are awaiting electrical service, Garner said.
The separate project below the dam is funded by Executive Order 298 which allocated $413,029 in state emergency funds to install the outdoor early warning system to alert residents who live below the dam of impending disasters after the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced last year that the dam had been determined to be at high risk for failure.
Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, Inc. was awarded the grant to implement the project which places a total of 16 outdoor early warning sirens at strategically located sites below Wolf Creek Dam along the Cumberland River throughout Clinton, Cumberland, Monroe and Russell Counties. These sirens do not include the other 12 and two upgraded sirens that were installed in Russell County.
Brown said that he was pleased that Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency was selected to provide such a needed service to the community. He also said that all of the funds allocated to the project would be spent for the implementation of the outdoor early warning system and that LCCAA would not accept any funds for administering the grant, according to a release.
Russell County's 911 Center has local control to activate the sirens in the case of an emergency. Additionally, a central control center which can activate all 16 sirens either as a group or individually is located at Cumberland County's 911 Center.
The final of the 12 Russell County sirens was erected in the French Valley Industrial Park on French Valley Rd. last week by workers with West Shore Services of Allendale, Mich., the siren's installation company.
The effort to get the county the new sirens began several months ago when Bottom learned he could get several new sirens for the county at a reduced price because of the ones that were placed below the dam.
Russell County had a deadline of March 15 to come up with the funds to help pay for the sirens to be placed in the county, Garner said. So began Bottom and Garner's effort to obtain donations for the county to get the 12 additional sirens.
After attending numerous city meetings and meetings with business owners and citizens within the county, Bottom and Garner were able to lock up more than $200,000 in donations to the siren project.
Many businesses or individuals and both Russell Springs and Jamestown participated in the funding of the siren project.
These include the cities of Russell Springs and Jamestown, Stephens Pipe & Steel, Monticello Banking, First National Bank, Bank of Jamestown, BB&T Bank, Community Trust Bank, Superior Battery, Duo County Telephone, Jamestown Marina, Red Sun Homes, Branscum Construction and Key Village, Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, the Industrial Board, the Russell County Board of Education, the Fiscal Court and Phillip Gaskin.
"We wouldn't have been able to complete this project if we didn't go out and get some donations," Garner said. "It would have never happened."
The sirens will allow people throughout the entire county to hear the emergency tones, something many residents hadn't been able to hear before.
"The sirens we got will pretty much cover the county as far as the schools and the heavily populated areas but there are still areas I'd like to get," Bottom said.
Bottom said the sirens were placed on special 45 ft. tall poles and will be programmed to alert with different pitched sounds depending upon the type of emergency, be it a tornado, fire or otherwise.
Bottom also said the sirens it both Russell Springs and Jamestown will be updated to the new siren.
He said that South Kentucky RECC and he went out this past Monday morning to locate all the sirens and get them ready for electricity hook-up. RECC is helping with the installation of these sirens free of charge, Bottom said.
According to www.federalwarningsystems.com, the type of siren that the county purchased is the 2001-130 warning siren, "the most reliable and highest quality outdoor warning siren available today."
The siren can be controlled by computer, land lines or radio and can produce the three signals for various applications, Bottom said
Garner said that all sirens in the county would be synchronized with the National Weather Service in Jackson.
The sirens, which have a value of around $20,500, have a range of 1 to 2.5 miles, depending upon terrain, and will rotate in a circle when sounding off.
Garner said the sirens, which have battery back-up, still have to be hooked up to electricity and the control systems installed at Dispatch. Bottom and Garner both said the sirens should be operating in the next 3-6 weeks. The county is also going to apply for another grant that could give the county eight additional sirens, Bottom said. He said he didn't know if the county would be able to obtain the additional sirens but said that it was worth a shot.
Tim Shuck with West Shore Services, who installed the sirens, said the Lake Cumberland area was some of the most beautiful country he's seen. He is from Michigan.
"It's beautiful country down here," he said. "Just gorgeous, I'd love to come back."
The four Russell County sirens below the dam are located in the Creelsboro area at Helm's Landing, Miller Road, Back Creek Road, and Rockhouse Christian Church. The locations of the other in-county sirens are the French Valley Industrial Park area, Union Chapel and Salem areas, Glover Rd. area, the Links golf course area, Old Hoppertown Rd. area, Eli Fire Dept. area, David Rd. on Gosser Ridge, Hemlock Lane. area near Russell Springs Elementary, Reece Rd. area in Royville, one by the county garage off Hwy. 619 and the Mt. Pleasant Church area, according to Bottom.
"The areas that were chosen (for a siren) were picked the people with the federal siren company and were chosen because they were determined to be the best areas to reach the greatest amount of people," he said.
Once the sirens are fully operational, LCCAA will notify the public of the date and time on which the sirens will be tested, according to a release. Bottom also said the public would be notified when the county's sirens will be tested.
Brown stressed that LCCAA would like to thank those who contributed to the successful implementation of the Russell County portion of the project, specifically Garner and Bottom for their assistance and South Kentucky RECC for boring the holes and supplying electricity to the sirens.
"We really are happy that we can do this and aregrateful to the people who contributed to make this project go," Bottom said. "We hope, in the future, that it might save some lives."