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HomeNewsArchivesSecond Phase of VITEMA’s Tsunami Siren Installation Project Near Completion

Second Phase of VITEMA’s Tsunami Siren Installation Project Near Completion

With the installation of six sirens since December and six more under way now on St. Croix, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency has nearly completed the second phase of tsunami siren construction, according to the agency.

“This system remains critical to enhancing our ability to quickly warn the community of an imminent threat – not only for tsunamis but also hurricanes, flooding and more,” said VITEMA Director Elton Lewis in a statement. “The siren warning system also builds in a redundancy in our public warning and notification capabilities, including the Emergency Alert System, which is issued through radio and television broadcasts, and the V.I. Alert mass alert notification system, where registered users receive life safety alerts via text message, email, voicemail or fax.”

“At some point this year, we hope to conduct a territorywide test of the siren warning system. The test will be preceded by a media campaign so the public is well-aware and not alarmed,” he said.

The region has active volcanoes and is an active earthquake zone, and the territory previously suffered a terrible tsunami in 1867 that killed 30, tossed a massive U.S. Navy vessel, the USS Monongahela, from out at sea onto dry land and devastated the economy. And while the risk in any one year may not be great, another tsunami at some point is nearly inevitable, making an early warning system important. (See related links below)

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The final leg of the second phase began this week on St. Croix, according to VITEMA. On Thursday a V.I. Water and Power Authority crew and Bronx Communication, a local subcontractor for manufacturer American Signal Corp., installed the first pole at Sprat Hall in Frederiksted. The work continued Friday with an installation at Estate William’s Delight. Next week sirens will be erected at Divi Carina Bay and Cramer Park on the east end of the island followed by Estate Sion Farm and La Vallee at mid-island.

The electronic tone and voice dual-power sirens are capable of providing tone audible up to a mile and a half away and intelligible pre-recorded messages or live public addresses up to 900 feet. The sirens come equipped with a dual power source, which means the primary source of energy for the units will be solar; however, in the event of low sunlight the units will automatically switch to WAPA-generated power.

This phase of the project began last month on St. Thomas with the installation of six additional sirens there. In December, tsunami warning sirens were installed at Crown Bay, the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, near the Lucinda Millin Home, at Long Bay, Ezra Fredericks ballpark and Coki Point Beach. Two smaller-sized sirens were also mounted onto the Enid Baa Library and the Fort Christian Museum in August.

These sirens join 10 that were already built in the first phase of the project, which kicked off in June 2011, with four sirens installed on St. Thomas, four on St. Croix and two on St. John.

In 2011, sirens were erected on St. Thomas at the Cyril E. King Airport, Griffith Park, Yacht Haven Sugar Mill and the Red Hook Marina. On St. John, sirens were installed in the area of the Guy Benjamin School at Coral Bay and at the Winston Wells Park at Cruz Bay. On St. Croix, sirens were installed at the D.C. Canegata ballpark, the Christiansted government parking lot, Frederiksted government parking lot and at near the Marley housing community in Frederiksted.

The Tsunami Warning Siren System installation project is the culmination of efforts by the Gov. John deJongh Jr. administration to better prepare the territory for all hazards and to address gaps in how the public is notified of a life-threatening event. In the last several years, VITEMA, with guidance from deJongh, has shifted its focus from mainly hurricane and storm preparedness to readiness for all types of hazards.

The total cost of the project is $663,685, which VITEMA received through a combination of federal homeland security grant funding and local funds.

In November 2010, VITEMA hired Wisconsin-based American Signal Corp. to manufacture the sirens and to implement the long-awaited tsunami warning system in the Virgin Islands. American Signal Corp. has been manufacturing and installing warning systems since 1942, including for Thailand, Sri Lanka and St. Martin.

For more information about the Tsunami Warning Siren System visit www.VITEMA.gov.

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With the installation of six sirens since December and six more under way now on St. Croix, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency has nearly completed the second phase of tsunami siren construction, according to the agency.

“This system remains critical to enhancing our ability to quickly warn the community of an imminent threat – not only for tsunamis but also hurricanes, flooding and more,” said VITEMA Director Elton Lewis in a statement. “The siren warning system also builds in a redundancy in our public warning and notification capabilities, including the Emergency Alert System, which is issued through radio and television broadcasts, and the V.I. Alert mass alert notification system, where registered users receive life safety alerts via text message, email, voicemail or fax.”

“At some point this year, we hope to conduct a territorywide test of the siren warning system. The test will be preceded by a media campaign so the public is well-aware and not alarmed,” he said.

The region has active volcanoes and is an active earthquake zone, and the territory previously suffered a terrible tsunami in 1867 that killed 30, tossed a massive U.S. Navy vessel, the USS Monongahela, from out at sea onto dry land and devastated the economy. And while the risk in any one year may not be great, another tsunami at some point is nearly inevitable, making an early warning system important. (See related links below)

The final leg of the second phase began this week on St. Croix, according to VITEMA. On Thursday a V.I. Water and Power Authority crew and Bronx Communication, a local subcontractor for manufacturer American Signal Corp., installed the first pole at Sprat Hall in Frederiksted. The work continued Friday with an installation at Estate William’s Delight. Next week sirens will be erected at Divi Carina Bay and Cramer Park on the east end of the island followed by Estate Sion Farm and La Vallee at mid-island.

The electronic tone and voice dual-power sirens are capable of providing tone audible up to a mile and a half away and intelligible pre-recorded messages or live public addresses up to 900 feet. The sirens come equipped with a dual power source, which means the primary source of energy for the units will be solar; however, in the event of low sunlight the units will automatically switch to WAPA-generated power.

This phase of the project began last month on St. Thomas with the installation of six additional sirens there. In December, tsunami warning sirens were installed at Crown Bay, the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, near the Lucinda Millin Home, at Long Bay, Ezra Fredericks ballpark and Coki Point Beach. Two smaller-sized sirens were also mounted onto the Enid Baa Library and the Fort Christian Museum in August.

These sirens join 10 that were already built in the first phase of the project, which kicked off in June 2011, with four sirens installed on St. Thomas, four on St. Croix and two on St. John.

In 2011, sirens were erected on St. Thomas at the Cyril E. King Airport, Griffith Park, Yacht Haven Sugar Mill and the Red Hook Marina. On St. John, sirens were installed in the area of the Guy Benjamin School at Coral Bay and at the Winston Wells Park at Cruz Bay. On St. Croix, sirens were installed at the D.C. Canegata ballpark, the Christiansted government parking lot, Frederiksted government parking lot and at near the Marley housing community in Frederiksted.

The Tsunami Warning Siren System installation project is the culmination of efforts by the Gov. John deJongh Jr. administration to better prepare the territory for all hazards and to address gaps in how the public is notified of a life-threatening event. In the last several years, VITEMA, with guidance from deJongh, has shifted its focus from mainly hurricane and storm preparedness to readiness for all types of hazards.

The total cost of the project is $663,685, which VITEMA received through a combination of federal homeland security grant funding and local funds.

In November 2010, VITEMA hired Wisconsin-based American Signal Corp. to manufacture the sirens and to implement the long-awaited tsunami warning system in the Virgin Islands. American Signal Corp. has been manufacturing and installing warning systems since 1942, including for Thailand, Sri Lanka and St. Martin.

For more information about the Tsunami Warning Siren System visit www.VITEMA.gov.