FULTON, NY – Testing of the new Nine Mile Point emergency notification sirens installed by Exelon Generation and Entergy Nuclear will begin the week of April 6.
Residents may hear individual soundings of sirens in short bursts for the next few weeks as the startup and commissioning is completed.
Full testing of the new sirens will be announced by Exelon Generation when a schedule is established, and will not affect the published schedule of the siren system currently in place. Individual sirens in the new system will be tested audibly for a few seconds to ensure functionality.
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.
It includes replacing the 37 existing sirens and installing two additional sirens, as well as the addition of battery backup-power to all 39 sirens in the 10-mile radius around the nuclear power plants.
The system is operated by Exelon Generation and serves both of Oswego County’s nuclear facilities; however, it can also be called upon by county emergency management authorities to provide notification in any type of emergency.
The warning sirens are one of several methods used by Oswego County emergency management authorities to notify the public of emergencies. In an emergency, the sirens would be sounded prior to an Emergency Alert System message broadcast on stations that participate in the Oswego County Emergency Alert System.
The message would tell people why the sirens sounded and what actions they should take.
“The sirens are not a signal to evacuate,” Oswego County Emergency Management Office Director Dale A. Currier emphasized. “People should always consult an EAS broadcast station to hear instructions by Oswego County officials on what they should do.”
The new sirens will sound at a volume similar to the old ones. There will be a change to the frequency of testing and details will be shared on these changes.
Until the new system is fully tested and approved by federal officials, the existing system will remain in place.
In the meantime, quarterly testing of the current system will continue the week of May 4 with audible evening tests planned.
“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 an emergency.”
EAS stations are listed in the 2015 “Public Emergency Response Information” calendar that was mailed to residents of the Emergency Planning Zone in December.
The calendar is available online at http://www.oswegocounty.com/emo.shtml. EAS stations are also listed in the yellow pages of local telephone directories.
The public is not required to take protective action during the siren tests.
Anyone who has questions about the tests or any aspect of emergency planning may contact the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 591-9150 or 1-800-962-2792.