VITEMA nears completion of tsunami siren installation project


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The V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency said it is near completion of Phase Two of the Tsunami Siren Installation Project, adding 14 new sirens to the territory all-hazards warning system in the last two months.

The final leg of the project began last week on St. Croix, with six sirens going up across the island, according to a statement VITEMA issued Friday.

On Thursday, a V.I. Water and Power Authority crew and Bronx Communication, local subcontractor for manufacturer American Signal Corp., installed the first pole at Sprat Hall in Frederiksted. The work continued Friday with an installation at Estate William's Delight. This week, sirens are scheduled to be erected at Divi Carina Bay and Cramer Park on the east end of the island, followed by sirens in Estate Sion Farm and La Vallee at mid-island.

The second phase of the installation began last month on St. Thomas, with the installation of six additional sirens. In December, tsunami warning sirens were installed at Crown Bay, at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, near Lucinda Millin Home, at Long Bay by the entrance to Waterfront, at Ezra Fredericks Ball Park and at Coki Point beach.

Two smaller sirens also were mounted onto Enid Baa Library and Fort Christian Museum in August.

The electronic tone and voice dual-power sirens are capable of providing tone audible up to a mile-and-a-half away and intelligible pre-recorded messages or live public addresses up to 900 feet, according to VITEMA. The sirens are equipped with a dual power source, which means the primary source of energy for the units will be solar. However, in the event of low sunlight, the units will automatically switch to WAPA-generated power.

"This system remains critical to enhancing our ability to quickly warn the community of an imminent threat - not only for tsunamis but also hurricanes, flooding and more," said VITEMA Director Elton Lewis said in a prepared statement.

VITEMA plans to run a territorywide test of the system sometime in 2014, according to Lewis.

Phase 1 of the project began in June 2011, with four sirens installed on St. Thomas, four on St. Croix and two on St. John. The total cost of the project is $663,685, which VITEMA received through a combination of federal Homeland Security grant funding and local funds.

For more information about the Tsunami Warning Siren System, visit www.vitema.gov.

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