Havre Daily News
When you hear an alarm at 11 a.m. Wednesday, don't be alarmed. Havre and Hill County law enforcement will each be testing an emergency siren located at the Hill County Cemetery.
The tests will take place in a three-minute time frame, and the siren's sound should reach people within a mile of its location, Hill County disaster planning coordinator Ron Knudson said Monday.
The alarm will sound two times, once when a Hill County sheriff's dispatcher activates it, and again when a Havre police dispatcher does, Knudson said. The purpose is to be sure both departments can sound the alarm and also to let people know about the emergency warning system.
"It's very aggravating, but it gets your attention," Knudson said about the blasts, which will last about 20 to 30 seconds.
As in a true emergency, people should not call city or county offices to find out about the alarm, he said. If the siren sounds in an emergency, tune into one of the local radio stations in order to get information or instructions.
The test alarm Wednesday will not be followed by a radio bulletin, KOJM/KPQX news director Krystal Spring said today. The siren would normally be used in the case of a weather-related emergency, including tornados and flash floods, as well as a hazardous material spill, Knudson said.
In the case of an emergency, emergency workers would contact the radio stations before sounding the alarm so people could find out the cause immediately, he said.
"This siren is for the people outside. If you hear it, get inside and listen to the radio station," Knudson said. He added that the siren isn't necessarily loud enough to be heard inside a store or home.
People who do hear the alarm and go indoors should stay away from windows during a real emergency, according to Knudson.
Knudson does not know if the siren will be heard in the east end of town. Sheriff's deputies and police officers will be out on the street to determine how far it reaches, he said.
The city and county purchased the siren in 1999 and have tested it several times since, Hill County planner Clay Vincent said Monday. An errant lightning strike at the cemetery caused the alarm to accidentally sound two years ago, but it has never been used in an emergency, he said.
Knudson said he will try to have similar tests every year so people know about the alarm.