Fall Creek (WQOW) - Warning sirens remain silent in Fall Creek while
. The factory has not, as of this afternoon, provided replacement parts to the local vendor for the sirens in the Fall Creek area.
2. Currently there are no operational sirens in Fall Creek. One siren was taken out of service as a planned event for reprograming, shortly after it being taken out of service, the second siren was rendered inoperable due to a lightning strike. When I contacted the local vendor on Wednesday of this week, I was advised the parts should be in Eau Claire this week, to my knowledge this has not happened. That being the case, I would expect parts to be in next week. Once the parts are in, the local vendor has said it will be their priority to have them installed, very likely the same day they arrive.
3. I was made aware of the outage of both sirens on May 28, so at least 17 days as of today. We had hoped to have them back up and running within ten to fourteen days after their outage. I have included additional information regarding what I was told is the reason for this delay at the bottom of this email.
4. As for the siren on Knollwood Drive, I do not know the status of that unit but will look into and get back to you, although it may be next week before I can find the information needed.
A little bit of background:
Much of the delay for sirens, and the requirement for them to be reprogrammed, comes as a function of an FCC mandate known as "Narrow banding". In an effort to free up airwave space for communication purposes, the FCC is requiring all public safety departments/agencies across the nation to switch to a narrowband model. Locally, we have until the end of the year to complete the project and I would expect us to wrap up and be narrow banded by the end of September at the latest. This is a big project, not just here in Eau Claire but around the nation. Locally we have about four million dollars committed for construction of public safety communications equipment (towers, hardware/software etc.) and additional funds have been spent to upgrade responders portable and mobile radios. From what I have been told, the factories are backlogged because of the narrowband mandate and as such, it is taking longer than expected to repair/reprogram the hardware required to activate outdoor warning sirens.