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Bedford, TX Office of Emergency Management
Wednesday September 7th, 2011 :: 08:56 a.m. CDT

Community

Bedford Conducts Monthly Outdoor Warning Sirens Test Today at 1300 hours

Outdoor Warning Sirens (OWS) are primarily used to warn citizens of approaching severe weather conditions while outdoors. However, they are also used for other emergencies such as a hazardous chemical spill which may require Staying Put or Evacuating. People at the parks, in their yard, or at other outdoor locations would hear the loud sound from the OWS with their next step getting more information from the local radio and television broadcasts.
We have ten (10) outdoor warning sirens strategically located throughout the city covering each neighborhood in the Bedford. Each siren will produce a very loud128 decibel (dB) (sound of a jet taking off or a shotgun firing) at 100 feet and 70 dB (the sound of vacuum cleaner or a hairdryer) at 5,571 feet with a 60 degree sound pattern rotating 360 degrees. Even though the sound is loud and steady, each siren will vary in levels of amplitude as the siren speaker bell rotates. Wind speed and direction in addition to the changes in atmospheric pressures, factors of weather conditions, also influence the quality of the siren sound.
All ten OWS are activated electronically by radio control and can be sounded independently to alert sections of the city as needed. There are three separate control stations at different locations in the city to assure continuity of the OWS system. Each siren and control location has battery emergency power and each control location has emergency power by generators.
Again, Outdoor Warning Sirens (OWS) are designed to alert people who are OUTSIDE of a structure that pending and/or immediate danger is approaching our city and to seek information by ‘tuning in’ to their radio or television. Even though the outdoor warning sirens can be loud enough to be heard inside some nearby structures, they are NOT intended to warn people indoors. The National Weather Service (NWS) highly recommends an All Hazard (Weather) Radios as an indoor alert warning method. The radio would sound an alarm and delivering a message of early warning.
The Outdoor Warning Sirens are activated by the emergency management staff based on the following criteria:
• First Wednesday System Test – see “When do we test them?” (link)

• The National Weather Service issues a “Tornado Warning” that would include the city of Bedford;

• The National Weather Service issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning with the phrase "Destructive winds in excess of 70 mph (or higher) are likely with this storm" that would include the city of Bedford;

• Critical information from reliable resources such as the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (R.A.C.E.S.) and/or emergency management authorities from neighboring cities possibly leading into a life threatening situation or “Warning” that would affect the city of Bedford;

• Reported hail of 1.25 (one inch or smaller may be used for areas or events where large numbers of people are outdoors);

• Other life threatening emergencies that would affect the city of Bedford requiring public outdoor warning.
There may be times when we do not activate our outdoor warning sirens when other cities in the area have. Based on the activation criteria, each threatening situation is carefully evaluated by a team of emergency management staff using up-to-the-moment information concerning how the threat will affect the people in Bedford. The emergency management teams of each city have worked together developing plans and guidelines in effort to be consistent when activating their sirens during critical public emergency events. However, there will be conditions when our neighboring cities may activate their systems and be heard in Bedford and the event does not affect us causing confusion. In most cases all cities in our area use the following guidelines when activating outdoor warning sirens.
We perform a system test on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 P.M. unless there is severe weather warning or a dark overcast that day. The “loud test” is a full test of each siren checking all functions usually lasting up to two minutes. The “growl test” performs the same assessment as the “loud test” except the siren speaker bell only makes one full rotation with sound usually lasting less than 30 seconds. We also test each siren’s electronics twice daily notifying emergency management of the results and reporting any issues by pager and email. Our neighboring cities also may test their equipment during this time.
The funding and installation of our new outdoor warning system was approved as a part of the Bedford 2005 bond election in November 2001. This project is now completed and in full operation.
You can learn more about the National Weather Service All Hazard Weather Radio by visiting our web site www.bedfordfire.net under Emergency Management.

Address/Location
Bedford, TX Office of Emergency Management
1816 Bedford Rd
Bedford, TX 76021

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 817-952-2500

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