DEARBORN, Michigan – At the request of Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. and with the support of Wayne County Commissioner Gary Woronchak, the City of Dearborn soon will be receiving four more sirens from Wayne County to enhance the outdoor warning system installed by the county a few years ago.
Dearborn has 12 outdoor sirens now, which are designed to alert people who are outdoors that they need to take cover indoors because of severe weather or other threatening hazards. Last year, some residents complained that they were unable to hear warning sirens.
Wayne County, which received federal money for the warning system, installed Dearborn’s sirens as part of a countywide design meant to work in conjunction with adjacent communities. The system’s design counted on each community operating their sirens in the same way and sounding alerts simultaneously when threats were in the same geographic area. But it was discovered that not every community operates its system in a similar manner. Along with that finding, Dearborn officials discovered that the county-installed outdoor warning sirens were not reaching some areas of the city in an optimal way.
At the urging of Dearborn’s emergency management team and Mayor O’Reilly, Wayne County in July agreed to install four more outdoor sirens in Dearborn by the fall. These additional sirens will be in the Whitmore-Bolles school area, near the Oakwood Common retirement community, near the Dearborn Hills Golf Course and near Cherry Hill and Outer Drive. In addition, the city will benefit from the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s installation of four sirens to serve its campus on Evergreen between Ford Road and Michigan Avenue.
Further, the city will be pursuing two to four more sirens through federal Homeland Security grants. These sirens will have voice capabilities to alert people to seek cover indoors, or provide other specific directions.
The plan is to install these additional sirens in areas where large crowds typically gather outdoor, such as for athletic events, at visitor attractions or during festivals. Despite these planned enhancements, public safety officials remind residents that the sirens are meant to get the attention of people who are outdoors to alert them to seek shelter. The sirens are not meant to be the primary warning for people already inside. In fact, they may not be heard inside houses or buildings.
Residents are advised to be aware of severe weather and monitor TV and radio reports if conditions seem threatening. In addition, public safety officials advise residents to invest in weather radios or all-hazard radios to better ensure they are informed and can respond appropriately to danger. “It is also a good idea to sign up for alerts from Dearborn public safety officials via Nixle.com, which can deliver text messages and emails about safety warnings “, City of Dearborn officials said. “You can sign up for Dearborn alerts at Nixle.com.”