Dane County will add three new outdoor warning sirens in the coming weeks in lower-income neighborhoods, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. It’s the second consecutive year Dane County has made the public safety improvements in areas with the highest concentration of residents living at or below the poverty level.
“An important part of our community’s ongoing conversation about equity includes the need to ensure all of our citizens have access to services available,” Parisi said. “These new sirens will improve the safety of families in the areas we’ve identified and become part of a broader, state of the art emergency preparedness system in our county.”
County Executive Parisi included $90,000 in his capital budget for 2017 for the new sirens slated to be installed this summer in two neighborhoods in Madison – where Fish Hatchery Road intersects with Park Street along with East Washington near Darbo Drive – and the neighborhood around Veterans Road and Vernon Avenue in the City of Stoughton. These three new sites are in addition to other new sirens focused on neighborhoods of greatest need installed last year.
Dane County currently has 132 outdoor warning sirens which are typically located in areas with higher density populations. The County recently completed a multi-year replacement of the entire siren system, including the hardware, software, and programming that determines which sirens sound and when. These upgrades to modernize the network cost $1.3 million.
Additionally, new technology implemented in conjunction with the National Weather Service a few years ago automatically sounds the sirens when a tornado warning is issued. These warnings are focused on areas of greatest risk, setting off sirens in neighborhoods deemed to be in the path of storm.
This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. Dane County’s outdoor warning sirens will sound as part of a statewide drill this coming Thursday afternoon.