The Dane G. Hansen Foundation in Logan notified Ellis County Fire and Emergency Management of approval for a grant from the foundation in the amount of $130,000. The grant was submitted to assist in the purchase of new outdoor storm warning sirens throughout Ellis County. The grant will directly help reduce the costs of sirens purchased for Antonino, Catharine, Ellis, Munjor, Pfeifer, Prairie Acres, Schoenchen, Victoria and Walker, and an area East of Hays.
The new weather warning system will replace storm sirens approximately 40 years old and are meeting the end of their expected lifespan. The new system will allow the outdoor sirens to more adequately alert Ellis County residents in the event of a tornadic emergency.
The sirens will be linked to monitoring system which will automatically notify officials if there is a maintenance issue with a siren. Also, this new weather warning system will automatically activate the sirens after a tornado warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. The additional time is passed to the residents during the tornadic event to take shelter. Finally, the new sirens will be installed with battery back-ups to allow the sirens to still activate during power outages.
This new computer system will allow partnerships between the Ellis County weather warning system with local businesses, schools, assisted living facilities, or any others who are interested. This will allow those interested to purchase indoor devices which would be linked to the Ellis County system to alert residents who are indoors with devices similar to a fire alarm. As a reminder, outdoor warning sirens are designed to only notify citizens who are outdoors and not those who are inside a structure.
This project also includes assistance from Midwest Energy to install utility poles and provide electrical service to the sirens. Midwest Energy is providing these services at a lower cost to help lower the expense of this project.