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From Left Field

June 13, 2011

By BOB SHRALUKA
    John August, Adams County's Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director. won't lay any phoney baloney on you. Plain and simple, he says that if a person or family wants to be warned of an impending storm or tornado, don't rely entirely on the county's warning siren system.
    Instead, purchase a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio. Much, much more reliable.
    "Our sirens (across the county) are rated for outside warning only," August said  earlier this week. "And you're not always going to hear one. If you've got the TV on, the air conditioner, something like that, you may not hear it. What we encourage everyone to do is get one of the weather radios.
    "You can buy one for around $30. They're available a lot of places and they're much more reliable (for an early warning)."
    When a storm or tornado is in your area, the weather radio sounds an alarm. "It will wake you up and tell you the situation. So like I said, it's much more reliable; it's the only sure way of getting a warning,"  August said.
    Some of the earlier versions of the radio warning devices lacked what might be described as pinpoint warning. "So if something is going on in Angola, you might be awakened in the middle of the night for that," August said. "Well, after a few of those, you might junk it (the radio) or turn it off.
    "But today's can be programmed for your county only. You can program it yourself. We encourage people to program both Adams and Wells counties because a lot of times it (storm.tornado) will come through Wells first."
    Eventually, August predicted, warnings will be provided through text messaging and the like. But for now, the weather radio "is the best way to go."
    A total of 13 warning sirens are now in use in Adams County. To begin to purchase and erect enough warning sirens to adequately cover all of
the county, August laughed, "we would have to spend so much money that we could spend less and just buy everyone a weather radio."
    So the outside sirens certainly serve a purpose, but they're just one part of the warning equation.

Already been done
    A call to August was prompted by a story in a recent edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette which said Allen County leaders must one day soon decide weather to upgrade their warning system — at a  substantial cost — by the end of 2012. 
    “If I was to describe the system with one word, it would be ‘embarrassment,’ ” said Bernie Beier, director of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Office of Homeland Security. “A city and a county our size with an outdoor warning system like this in 2011 is an embarrassment. I have no confidence at all that the system will work as I need it to. …”
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is mandating narrow banding, which will move all public safety radio communications to a smaller but more exclusive bandwidth range to reduce interference. Beier sees a minimum cost of $480,000 to meet the mandate.
    So will Adams County have to spend a good-sized amount to meet the mandate? Already done, August said.
    "We upgraded our's (outdoor warning system) a year or two ago, so we're okay there," he noted.
    So if you have a NOAA weather radio at home and at work, and if the county's outdoor system is in good working order — and it is constantly checked — then it seems you're mostly assured of getting an early warning of a major storm/tornado. You won't be protected from the story, but there is a good chance you will be warned.

Now a Prime spot
    For those who have noticed, yes, those are Prime, Inc. trucks now operating out of the former Ruan Transportation site off Washington St., near 10th St.
    The Prime trucking company, of course, was the winning bidder for the Bunge North America work and became the first purchaser of land in Decatur's Industrial Park III. All the wet weather of recent weeks, however, set back the earth moving effort at the site. So when Ruan's contract ran out and Prime's began, Prime moved into the Washington St. location to begin serving Bunge.

By BOB SHRALUKA
    John August, Adams County's Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director. won't lay any phoney baloney on you. Plain and simple, he says that if a person or family wants to be warned of an impending storm or tornado, don't rely entirely on the county's warning siren system.
    Instead, purchase a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio. Much, much more reliable.
    "Our sirens (across the county) are rated for outside warning only," August said  earlier this week. "And you're not always going to hear one. If you've got the TV on, the air conditioner, something like that, you may not hear it. What we encourage everyone to do is get one of the weather radios.
    "You can buy one for around $30. They're available a lot of places and they're much more reliable (for an early warning)."
    When a storm or tornado is in your area, the weather radio sounds an alarm. "It will wake you up and tell you the situation. So like I said, it's much more reliable; it's the only sure way of getting a warning,"  August said.
    Some of the earlier versions of the radio warning devices lacked what might be described as pinpoint warning. "So if something is going on in Angola, you might be awakened in the middle of the night for that," August said. "Well, after a few of those, you might junk it (the radio) or turn it off.
    "But today's can be programmed for your county only. You can program it yourself. We encourage people to program both Adams and Wells counties because a lot of times it (storm.tornado) will come through Wells first."
    Eventually, August predicted, warnings will be provided through text messaging and the like. But for now, the weather radio "is the best way to go."
    A total of 13 warning sirens are now in use in Adams County. To begin to purchase and erect enough warning sirens to adequately cover all of
the county, August laughed, "we would have to spend so much money that we could spend less and just buy everyone a weather radio."
    So the outside sirens certainly serve a purpose, but they're just one part of the warning equation.

Already been done
    A call to August was prompted by a story in a recent edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette which said Allen County leaders must one day soon decide weather to upgrade their warning system — at a  substantial cost — by the end of 2012. 
    “If I was to describe the system with one word, it would be ‘embarrassment,’ ” said Bernie Beier, director of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Office of Homeland Security. “A city and a county our size with an outdoor warning system like this in 2011 is an embarrassment. I have no confidence at all that the system will work as I need it to. …”
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is mandating narrow banding, which will move all public safety radio communications to a smaller but more exclusive bandwidth range to reduce interference. Beier sees a minimum cost of $480,000 to meet the mandate.
    So will Adams County have to spend a good-sized amount to meet the mandate? Already done, August said.
    "We upgraded our's (outdoor warning system) a year or two ago, so we're okay there," he noted.
    So if you have a NOAA weather radio at home and at work, and if the county's outdoor system is in good working order — and it is constantly checked — then it seems you're mostly assured of getting an early warning of a major storm/tornado. You won't be protected from the story, but there is a good chance you will be warned.

Now a Prime spot
    For those who have noticed, yes, those are Prime, Inc. trucks now operating out of the former Ruan Transportation site off Washington St., near 10th St.
    The Prime trucking company, of course, was the winning bidder for the Bunge North America work and became the first purchaser of land in Decatur's Industrial Park III. All the wet weather of recent weeks, however, set back the earth moving effort at the site. So when Ruan's contract ran out and Prime's began, Prime moved into the Washington St. location to begin serving Bunge.

 

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