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City continuing to upgrade weather sirens

Lexington’s network of 27 outdoor emergency sirens is getting an update. The city says many are decades old, with repair parts hard-to-find or no longer available.

Money being used to improve the sirens is coming from a combination of state, federal and local funding. The Division of Emergency Management says the latest upgrade of the emergency alert system has been completed at Douglass Park in north Lexington.

“Emergency alert systems have evolved since the days of a mechanical, motor driven siren,” said Steve Jackson, operations manager for the Division of Emergency Management. “The latest system is 100% electronic and allows for both a loud siren sound and the ability to make voice announcements. Because the systems are networked, we can quickly sound alerts for any type of severe weather alert or community emergency.”

The outdoor emergency siren system is designed to warn people outdoors at a public park or golf course that there is impending severe weather or some other type of community emergency that requires them to take shelter. The Division of Emergency Management says there is a common misconception that the outdoor siren system is designed to alert residents inside a home or office in case of an emergency. “The siren system was never intended to be a notification system for people indoors,” said Pat Dugger, Director of the Division of Emergency Management. “We strongly encourage everyone in Lexington to have a working NOAA weather radio in their homes and in their workplace. In case of severe weather or a community emergency, alerts will be broadcast on these channels first. If people indoors hear one of the park sirens go off, the best thing to do is to check a weather radio, local radio or TV station.”

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