Albemarle Community Advisory Council asks Tyrone to move on sirens

Representatives of Albemarle’s Community Advisory Council were at Monday’s Tyrone Borough Council meeting to urge the borough to take necessary action to allow the implementation of a long-planned emergency siren system to proceed.
The siren system would be used for wide-scale emergencies beyond a regular fire call and would require a different sound or cadence or series of cadences depending on the nature of the incident.
Patrick Campbell of the advisory council told The Daily Herald, “We have been trying (since 1994) to establish a 911 setup (using sirens) if anything happens in the borough.”
He cited some examples such as “if Albermarle had a serious leakage of chemicals, if there was a serious chemical spill on I-99 or a flood.”
Campbell said, “The ball at this point is in their (the borough’s) court. We’ve done everything we can. Four out of five of the sirens are in working order.”
A fifth siren is planned to be erected at the Tyrone Area Schools with the cost to be covered by Albemarle. Campbell said the school district is on board with the idea.
“The last step, the final step is something we can’t do,” said Campbell. “The borough needs to get with the 9-1-1 Blair County Coordinator.”
Campbell explained a protocol has to be established. If there is an emergency, the borough would be notified and the siren would used to notify people that there is some type of an emergency. Residents would be instructed to tune into the local radio station or a designated television station to learn more about the emergency and what action they should take.
A system needs to be established that would indicated the nature of the emergency depending of what type of “cadence” the siren emits, according to Campbell.
Borough Manager Sharon Dannaway told Campbell she would relay the information to Tyrone’s emergency management coordinator Jim Beckwith and ask him to contact the county to further the effort.
“He (Beckwith) has fought us tooth and nail on this since 1994, so I’m cautiously optimistic that hopefully we can get this done,” said Campbell.
Money has been set aside for pamphlets to be printed and distributed to the public to advise them on how the system would work. Campbell said once the system was ready a test would be conducted involving the siren’s cadence.
Last year, a test was conducted in the basement of the Tyrone Municipal Building to verify if a button that already exists there could be hooked up to the siren system to alert residents of a wide-scale emergency. The test verified the button worked when activated manually.
A previous Herald article noted the hope is an overall response system for the Tyrone area would include the borough and other entities such as nearby townships, the school district, the hospital and local industries. Such a response plan would likely include coordinated efforts among the participants, in addition to the siren system.