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Seven Tornado Sirens To Be Installed In Seven Communities


February 11, 2021

Seven new tornado sirens have been delivered to Pottawatomie County and are ready for installation as weather permits, said Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Chad Larman.

During Monday's meeting of the Pottawatomie County Board of Commissioners, Larman provided the board with an update on siren installation.

After Larman's update, the commissioners would proceed to vote 2-0 in favor of an equipment purchase for Bethel Acres Fire Department, and accept a retirement letter from County Assessor Troyce King. Commissioner Eddie Stackhouse was not present for the meeting.

Four tornado sirens, in St. Louis, Macomb, Dale and Johnson, are being replaced or updated, Larman said. The other three, he said, will be new sirens going in for Pink, Tribbey, and an additional siren near South Rock Creek.

"We're hoping this will be done before storm season," Larman said.

Larman said the new sirens also come with several significant technological upgrades.

"The new sirens will be on taller poles," Larman said. "Right now, the old sirens are only on 45-foot poles, and these new ones will be on 60-foot poles, so they'll have a little more reach."

This extra reach will be especially useful in the hills of southern Pottawatomie County, Larman said.

"They're also on solar power now," Larman said. "Once they're switched over they'll be on completely solar power, so we won't have to depend on any utility company to power them. So if we have an outage, or anything like that, we're still going to be up and running."

The new sirens will be somewhat automatic, and can be adjusted via a mobile app without the need to go to a physical command center.

"And also, they're going to be linked in to the National Weather Service," Larman said.

When the National Weather Service issues a warning, he said, the sirens within the affected area will go off automatically.

"The backup there is, if they don't go off, we can do it from the office, or our phone," Larman said.

And if a siren sits just outside of the affected area, Larman said the emergency management department can decide to activate it manually, depending on its proximity to danger.

Larman said the effective use this new technology should reduce the amount of time between a tornado warning being issued, and the area's sirens being activated.

Shifting gears, but only slightly, the commissioners turned their attention to a request form Bethel Acres Fire Department to purchase new rescue equipment, totaling $62,452.

Paul Simpson, rural fire coordinator for the Central Oklahoma Economic Development District, spoke to the commissioners about the purchase request on behalf of Bethel Acres.

The equipment requested for purchase included two cutter tools, two spreader tools, two rams, batteries and battery chargers. According to documents presented at the meeting, these purchases would be made using a sealed bid from MES Fire.

"This was low bid?" Commissioner Melissa Dennis asked.

"Yes," Simpson said, "it was the only bid."

The request from Bethel Acres Fire Department was approved with a 2-0 vote.

And after dealing with the more routine business, the board acknowledged the retirement letter of longtime Pottawatomie County Tax Assessor Troyce King.

King has been with the county assessor's office for 28 years, serving as a deputy assessor, first deputy, and finally county assessor.

"I have enjoyed my position, the people I met, and the friends I have made along the way," King's letter read. "It has truly been a rewarding career."

King's letter specified that his intended final day would be March 31, and recommended First Deputy to the Assessor's office, Jenny Crawford, fill the remaining 21 months of his term.


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