PORT ANGELES — Tsunami warnings are about to become much clearer for many Port Angeles residents and businesses because of the installation of a second alert siren in the downtown area.
The new siren, located in public parking Lot “G” at First and Lincoln streets, was installed Tuesday. It supplements an older siren located along Marine Drive near Port Angeles Boat Haven.
Additional sirens also have been added in the Clallam Bay/Sekiu area, the Jamestown area near Sequim and a pair around Neah Bay.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron said a second siren was necessary in Port Angeles because of comments from business owners who said they could never hear the monthly tests from the Marine Drive location.
”Hearing the one on Marine Drive depended upon fog, and if the winds were shifting, you couldn’t hear it on either side,” he said.
A location at City Pier was considered, but later rejected because of potential impact on marine life in the area, Cameron said.
In Clallam County, older sirens are positioned at Diamond Point, Dungeness Fire Station, Four Seasons Ranch, Lower Elwha Klallam Community Center, Clallam Bay, the Quileute Akalat Community Center in La Push and two sites in Neah Bay.
Jefferson County has sirens at three sites in Port Townsend — the Port Townsend marina, Point Hudson and Fort Worden — and on the Hoh reservation on the West End.
Each is designed to be activated by the state or by local officials to warn of potential tsunamis resulting from a Cascadia fault earthquake.
Sgt. John Keegan of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, who helped coordinate the new siren project, said numerous local agencies — as well as the state — have the ability to activate the county siren network.
Included are the county emergency operations center, fire departments and himself.
Sirens are tested at noon on the first Monday of each month with Westminster Chimes tones, followed by voice notifications that a test was being conducted in both English and Spanish.
The sirens also are tested once a year with the actual wail sound on the third Thursday in October in conjunction with the Great Washington ShakeOut emergency preparedness drill.
The first sounds from the new units will likely be during the June test, Cameron said.
Keegan said the monthly tests were only a scant indication of how well and how far the sirens can be heard. The actual warning wail is much louder.
“Those (tests) are only at half volume,” he said.
Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.