Through a grant from State of Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the City of Saint Paul completed installation of two pole-mounted All-Hazard Alert Broadcast Sirens in July 2022. These replaced the one older siren which was outdated.
The sirens are located at the intersection of Bartlett Blvd. and Gorbatch Streets, and near the intersection of Venia Minor Street and Kandalehin Street.
How Will the Sirens Work?
The all-hazard alert broadcast sirens are intended to act as an outdoor emergency alerting method for people who are outside. The sirens have an audible range of about a mile; however, this can be largely affected by winds. Some have reported hearing the tone as far away as 4 miles, although the message might not be clearly understood.
While the sirens have a 360-degree speaker, they are not meant to be heard inside homes or buildings. Island residents and visitors are encouraged to sign up for the Nixle alert system which will send you an email, a text message, or calls your phone (depending on your selections and the type of emergency).
Some emergency alerts will be activated by City personnel who will have access to activate these sirens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The National Weather Service also uses the sirens for weather-related alerts. Sirens can be activated through a secure satellite signal from anywhere.
What Does the Siren Sound Like?
The sirens will play 3 different tones depending upon the type of emergency, followed by a message in English providing further information and instructions. These are the 3 tones you might hear:
Westminster Chime = This is reserved for the weekly 20-second test. The siren system will be tested at 5:00 p.m. every Friday. The sirens play the “Westminster Chimes,” followed by an audio message stating it was just a test.
Pulsed Steady = Amber Alert (meaning a child has been abducted or is missing).
Alt Steady = Emergency warnings for flood, tsunami, fire, high wind, and blizzard, as well as notifications to shelter-in-place and immediate evacuation.
What Should I Do When I Hear the Siren?
Remain calm. When the sirens sound, listen carefully to the message that plays immediately afterwards and follow the instructions. Watch for additional instructions given through Nixle or listen to local radio station KUHB 91.9FM for more information. Follow the recommendations provided. Help your family, friends and neighbors. Wait for an “All Clear” message before returning to low lying areas or exiting your shelter. DO NOT CALL 911 or 546-3130 UNLESS YOU HAVE A LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY. This interrupts dispatchers from being able to communicate with first responders or take higher priority calls. We don’t want to flood dispatchers with inquiry calls when there could be other critical events occurring.
Help the City Observe and Document the Siren Test
The City is looking for volunteers to help observe these sirens during the weekly tests. Observing a siren involves being near a siren at the test time, filling out and returning a form with observation information. You can report online or you can pick up a paper form at City Hall.