The City of Duncan Outdoor Warning Siren System is now modified and configured for automatic activation in the event a Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service.
The siren system now monitors the National Weather Service’s Emergency Alert System for Tornado Warning information. When a warning is populated on the weather map and a red TOW (Tornado Warning) polygon appears, the sirens will automatically activate if the red TOW polygon intersects with our Outdoor Warning Siren coverage area.
This modification includes all four City of Duncan lakes — Lake Fuqua, Lake Humphrey, Duncan Lake and Clear Creek Lake.
Additionally, the lakes are now independent of each other for siren activation. Previously, all lake sirens had to be activated for a warning at any of the lakes. Now, each lake is independent, and a siren can be sounded individually or in a group of affected lakes.
If the TOW polygon intersects the City of Duncan coverage area and Lake Humphrey coverage area, both the city and Lake Humphrey sirens will sound leaving all other lake sirens silent until a warning is issued in that specific area. Additionally, if only Clear Creek Lake and Fuqua Lake are in the TOW polygon, only those two sirens will activate.
Dispatchers at the Duncan Police Department have live weather radar overlaying the siren system and an indication of any activated sirens. A popup will populate the screen to notify them when a warning is sounded. The automation feature does not prevent the manual activation of any warning function.
Weekly testing of the siren system is now fully automated unless severe weather is in the area or forecast. Each lake siren is automatically activated sequentially at 11:59 a.m. every Monday. The City of Duncan sirens will follow at noon.
The computer runs the testing sequence for four minutes and tests multiple functions such as Wail for Tornado Warning, Steady for All Clear, and monitors siren voltage and current, battery levels, rotation, charger status, line voltage and communications strength. These conditions are communicated back to the central activation point and relayed to city staff if any maintenance is needed. Eleven of the 28 in service sirens are equipped with these automated two-way telemetry systems.
This project is in progress with all siren sites scheduled to be remodeled with the new equipment already purchased and waiting to be installed. The new and old siren system do work together with the improvements that have been implemented so there is no interruption of automated warning during the changeover period.
Future improvements planned will integrate automated Lightning Detection and Lightning Warning in City of Duncan parks, walking trails, and the Abe Raizen sports complex. These lightning warning devices will be voice capable sirens that will give a voice warning of approaching lightning and instruct users to take shelter.
Two of these sirens are planned to be located at the Hillcrest and Douglass Park splash pads and will deactivate the water pumping system during the warning condition to encourage users to leave and take shelter.
The sirens will also be able to sound voice announcements for Tornado Warnings, Flood Warnings, High Winds, Siren testing and more.
The sirens, to be located near Halliburton Stadium, Fuqua Pool, all city parks, splash pads, and Abe Raizen sports complex will be capable of Public Address and will be used to broadcast messages during events such as Fourth of July for lost children, emergencies, or any other need that may arise.
Tera Mathis, Director of Emergency Management for City of Duncan reminds citizens that “with all of the improvements to our outdoor warning system we still want to remind the public that these sirens are intended to alert those people who are outdoors.”
“In fact, with the modern advances in building and window construction, homes are now built to reduce the level of outdoor sounds entering your home,” Mathis said. “Therefore, this doesn’t allow outdoor warning sirens to adequately alert those indoors. So, for that reason we recommend you have multiple ways to receive weather warnings. You can sign up for Duncan Alerts through our City Webpage, weather alerts on your cellphone and or have a weather radio tuned in for local alerts. Please remember if the sirens are going off, do not call 911 unless you have a true emergency.”
Loisdawn Jones, Public Information and Civic Engagement, with City of Duncan, said the improvements were much needed and will be beneficial to the community.
“The City of Duncan is excited about these improvements, and improvements to come, and believe they make the Outdoor Warning Siren System more reliable, more functional, and give the public more time to reach shelter in the event of an emergency,” Jones said.