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February 24, 2016

New emergency notification sirens in effect for Oswego County

Fulton –New emergency notification sirens installed by Exelon Generation and Entergy Nuclear have gone into service following approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Dale A. Currier, Director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, has announced. A new siren testing schedule is also now in effect.

The project is a joint effort by Exelon Generation, which owns and operates Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, and Entergy Nuclear, which owns and operates the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, to upgrade the public warning system to use the latest technology and provide greater reliability. It includes replacing the 37 existing sirens and installing three additional sirens, as well as the addition of battery backup-power to all 40 sirens in the 10-mile radius around the nuclear power plants.

The warning sirens are one of several methods used by county emergency management authorities to provide notification of emergencies. In an emergency, the sirens would be sounded prior to an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message on broadcast stations participating in the Oswego County Emergency Alert System; the EAS message would tell people why the sirens sounded and what they should do.

“The sirens are not a signal to evacuate,” Currier stressed. “People should always consult an EAS station to hear instructions by Oswego County officials on what actions they should take if the sirens are activated.”

The new sirens sound at a volume similar to the old ones and cover the entire 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone. As a result, the tone-alert weather radio program maintained by the County for residents will be discontinued.

“The radios were provided to people who lived too far from the old sirens to hear them,” Currier explained. “People who have those radios are encouraged to continue to use them to hear 24-hour weather broadcasts and receive severe weather alerts. However, the county will no longer send batteries for those radios, and we will no longer provide tone-alert radios for that purpose.”

Post cards announcing the change in the county’s tone-alert weather radio program have been mailed to addresses in the county’s database that were eligible for the radios under the old system.

Testing for the new siren system will consist of short audible tests (“growl tests”) the first Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m., beginning Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Full sound tests will be held Tuesday, June 7, and Tuesday, December 6, 2016, at 1 p.m

In addition, maintenance on the siren system throughout the year may now include audible tests of a few seconds for individual sirens, both for regular maintenance and for repairs of individual sirens when necessary.

The old siren system will be dismantled this spring.

“We appreciate Exelon Generation’s and Entergy Nuclear’s commitment to public health and safety and the investment they’ve made in the new system,” Currier said. “The new sirens will enhance our ability to warn people of a nuclear power plant emergency.”

For more information on the sirens or nuclear power plant emergency planning, people may call the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 315/591-9150 or 1-800-962-2792. The 2016 Public Emergency Response calendar is available on the Oswego County website at www.oswegocounty.com/emo. .

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