New Citywide Storm Siren System Ready for Spring Weather Season

Media Release

Stillwater Emergency Management (SEMA) will have the new storm sirens and poles installed and fully functional within two weeks, mid-April. Ongoing system testing is occurring now to prepare for possible severe weather.

The project has been in the research and planning stages for several years and received funding approval for equipment in March 2021 from Mayor Joyce and Councilors.

The final bid, approximately $493k, was awarded to Goddard Enterprises for 22 mechanically operated storm sirens, relocation of 10 modular storm sirens and removal of 29, outdated Modulator Controller Plus (MCP) storm sirens. Of the replaced storm sirens, 15 will be utilized for parts to support remaining modulator storm sirens or can be used in areas of new development. Additionally, 32 poles were replaced for $45k.

“We knew several of the storm sirens in the outdoor warning system were quickly approaching the end of their life cycle due to age, lack of support from the vendor and unavailability of parts. Our team focus was to protect existing coverage areas, expand coverage to ensure there were no gaps, while also saving tax payer dollars,” said SEMA Director Rob Hill.

SEMA analyzed coverage and gap areas to find solutions to reduce the number of storm sirens, reduce the number of batteries needed to provide power and expand the coverage for the Stillwater community. The location of the storm sirens was calculated by using a propagation matrix to determine coverage patterns, population density and community needs.

Hill explained by selecting the Federal Signal 508 sirens and utilizing the current modulators, Stillwater, Oklahoma State University campus, Lake Carl Blackwell and Lake McMurtry would be covered with storm sirens for emergencies.

“The new sirens are located in town, while the modulators are concentrated in the highly populated recreational areas, where announcements are needed to distinguish the types of disasters,” Hill included.

While the 508 model sirens do not make announcements, they are mechanical and produce a deeper tone that carries farther in windy conditions and storm situations. The new sirens will rotate on top of the pole when activated.

The modulators will be re-programmed to match the tone of the new sirens and will make announcements prior to activation. The modulators will announce the type of activation the siren is conducting – whether a test, warning or even a manual announcement related to a man-made event. After the announcement has been made, sirens are timed to activate simultaneously with a consistent tone.

The installation process was delayed due to equipment delivery delays from the manufacturer and supply chain availability. However, once equipment was received, contractors began installation in January and February. Once the installation is fully complete, old poles from previous siren locations will be removed.

Note: Weather permitting, the first official test is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2022.