May 6, 2013
Delaware County Emergency Management Director Brian Galligher, deputy director Sean Miller, Delaware County commissioners Gary Merrell and Ken O'Brien and Delaware State Park Assistant Manager Loren Hart examine one of two new emergency warning sirens at the park. (Gazette | Dustin Ensinger
Emergency warning sirens rang out through two parks in Delaware County Monday, but there were no floods, tornadoes or other severe weather in the area.
Instead, the county was testing a new warning system at Alum Creek State Park and Delaware State Park.
“These are the areas we worry about the most,” said Brian Galligher, director of the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency (DCEMA). “If we were going to spend money just to put a couple of sirens in the county, it makes the most sense to do it here.”
The county was able to purchase the sirens, in part, thanks to an Ohio Emergency Management Agency grant. The county received about $87,000 through the grant, and used matching funds of the same amount to buy the sirens.
Voters in 2009 rejected a 0.4-mill levy that would have allowed the DCEMA to place an additional 46 warning sirens across the county.
County officials hope the public will heed the warnings when the sirens go off in a real emergency.
According to Galligher, park visitors should seek shelter in their vehicles when they hear the sirens and listen to their radios to gather additional information. In some cases, the best course of action might be to seek shelter elsewhere.
“The idea of an outdoor warning siren is to get people indoors and find out what’s going on,” he said.
The sirens can be heard up to two miles away on some days, according to Galligher.
Delaware State Park Assistant Manager Loren Hart said the warning sirens are a welcome addition to the park.
“Any advanced warning we can get to the public is great.”