From the Mayor's Desk - August 2015

At a recent City Council meeting a resident asked what the siren we are all so used to hearing means and whether there were different durations or numbers of blasts to signify different things. I had to say I wasn’t sure but I would check into it and put the answers in the next newsletter and here we are.

I spoke with our Fire Chief, J.B. Tennison, who told me whenever a call is dispatched for the North Bonneville Fire Department the siren is also activated to emit one blast lasting about 20 seconds. We hear the same sound every Monday around 7pm when the siren is used to signal our volunteer firefighters are due for their weekly meeting.

When the siren goes off as part of a dispatch for a fire, motor vehicle accident or some other emergency, the dispatcher gives our fire department 3 minutes to respond via radio. If they do not respond, the siren will blast again for another 20 seconds. Under some circumstances earlier responders might find the situation manageable with the need for our fire department to assist. In these cases, the dispatcher may set off another 20 second blast to alert our firefighters they have been called off the run.

There is no other use for the siren and it is not used to signal a gas line rupture, dam breach or any other disaster. The method used to alert us to an emergency situation of that nature is the Reverse 911 system, which uses automated calling to notify a large number of people in a very short amount of time.

The Reverse 911 system uses landlines by default so if you are among those who have forsaken their landlines for mobile phones, you should go to the following link to sign up to be added to the database for our area.

Skamania County Institutes An Emergency Notification System

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. You can reach me by phone at 427-8182, email me via don [at] (subject: A%20message%20from%20North%20Bonneville%20website) (email) or try to catch me running from the upcoming Cascadia Subduction Earthquake.