Officials sound off on sirens

The purchase of three new sirens will increase the city's total to seven.
NILES -- While council is committed to buying new safety sirens and upgrading the existing ones, some city officials want clarification on when and how they will be operated.
Council's safety committee members agreed Friday to introduce legislation at Wednesday's regular meeting to buy three more sirens, giving the city seven total.
The sirens are used to alert the public to emergency situations.
Disaster coordinator Tom Telego said guidelines from the county, state and Federal Emergency Management agencies recommend that in an emergency situation the sirens be blasted for a continuous cycle of three to five minutes and then again if necessary.
"If there is an imminent threat, then we sound them again," Telego said.
Determination of an imminent threat, he said, relies on information from a number of sources, including local police officers and county officials.
Too short
Police Chief Bruce Simeone thinks the initial blast is too short and the sirens should run as long as possible -- preferably around 30 minutes -- to give people plenty of opportunity to hear them.
"Three to five minutes is too easy to miss," he said.
Simeone said many weather emergencies, especially tornado warnings in the spring and summer months, take place at night, when people are in their homes and may not hear the sirens.
Telego pointed out the Ohio Safety and Health Administration has guidelines against continuous blasts.
Mayor calls for procedure
"I think we need to put a procedure together and make sure everyone has a copy of it," suggested Mayor Ralph A. Infante.
Councilman Stephen Papalas, who heads the safety committee, agreed, but stressed that once a plan is in place he expects all officials to follow it.
"When we get this, you are going to live by it," he said, looking around the room.

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