Warning siren system being upgraded in Genesee County, expected to be complete this week

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 6:40 PM EDT
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Early Monday morning, emergency sirens went off throughout Genesee County due to reported funnel clouds being sighted in the village of Gaines as well as Burton.

However, not everyone heard their nearby alert.

Genesee County 911 executive director Spring Tremaine said they are aware of the issues with some sirens but are limited with what they can do with their current system.

"We only have the option of setting off all the sirens at one time and so we basically set them off and we don't really get to pick and choose which ones go off," said Tremaine.

But all of those issues may soon be gone.

Genesee County 911 is currently in the process of upgrading its entire warning siren system. This would allow them to do something with their sirens they've never been able to before.

“We will then be able to see what ones went off and see if there is a malfunction or a problem with it,” said Tremaine. “And we can actually isolate and set off let’s just say the west side of the county or the east side of the county.”

The new upgrade is expected to be done by this week.

Currently the system only operates one way meaning 911 can send out a signal for the sirens to go off but do not receive any other form of communication to tell if they are operating.

The new two-way system will change that. It will help pinpoint when and where there is a problem.

The sirens have faced many issues this year involving false alarms as well as hackers setting them off. But this would be a step in the right direction, and everybody involved is on board.

“It will be a big improvement and incidentally all of the county has participated,” said Tremaine. “All these communities own their own sirens. They all pitched in and have agreed to the do the upgrade so that we can all monitor their system better.

Tremaine said each community paid about $400 per siren they own.

When they do activate the new system like expected this week, they will more than likely activate both systems, the old and new. This is to ensure that every area is covered in case of an emergency.

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