The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office is preparing to begin construction work on a fixed-position siren project that is intended to “enhance” the community’s awareness during an emergency.
During the Preparedness Awareness Month proclamation signing last Thursday, HSEM information officer Nadine Deleon Guerrero said the office is in the process of installing five fixed-position sirens throughout Saipan to assist in the event a tsunami warning is issued.
“We haven’t installed the sirens yet; we are still in the procurement process. It is a lengthy process. We had to go through bidding, we had to go through all kinds of processes before we actually determined a vendor and then go assess the different sites we are looking at installing them,” she said.
“We’re now just waiting for the property from Department of Public Lands to be handed over to Homeland Security to allow us to start construction for the sirens,” she added.
Deleon Guerrero said the sirens are designed to alert people when a tsunami warning is issued.
The fixed-position sirens will sound just like the Marianas High School siren when it goes off but a lot louder and will reach up to four or five different villages per siren.
The sirens will be placed in Tanapag, Chalan Lau Lau, As Perdido, Navy Hill, and Kagman.
“We’ve already designated the areas. We’ve looked at Tanapag…that is going to assist in alerting San Roque, Tanapag, and Lower Base. We will have one in Chalan Kiya that’s going to alert Oleai, Chalan Lau Lau…Susupe and parts of Chalan Kanoa. Then we will have one in As Perdido that is going to alert San Antonio, Chalan Piao, and parts of Chalan Kanoa. The fourth one will be on Navy Hill that is going to alert all of Garapan and Puerto Rico…[There will be] one siren for Kagman because we do have vulnerability at the Wing Beach area,” she said.
HSEM is also working on securing one more siren for either Tinian or Rota.
Deleon Guerrero said the sirens will not be placed in safe zones like Dandan, Koblerville, etc., because Homeland Security wants to encourage individuals living in those areas to stay put and allow individuals from lower parts of Saipan to make it to the safe zones.
“Whenever a tsunami warning is issued, give a chance to those from the western coast to make their way up to safe ground,” she said.
Each siren will be placed about 40 feet in the air and the siren itself is about 10 feet tall.
“It’s a very big improvement for the CNMI and our office is the one spearheading this project,” she said.
Deleon Guerrero said the sirens will be primarily used for tsunami warnings but HSEM is considering using them as all-hazard sirens in the future.
HSEM predicts the sirens to be up and running by the end of 2019 and an official community drill will be conducted by 2020.
Deleon Guerrero said the sirens are being funded through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation programs fund.