New sirens- A welcome sound to a scarred landscape

On October 23, 2013 in southwestern Kenton County, a siren could be heard echoing over the rolling hills of Kentucky for the first time. The Rotary Club, city officials, representatives from Duke and Owen Electric, Homeland Security, Piner Fire and Police departments, and representatives from the NKAPC were gathered on a Carlisle Road hillside for the new siren dedication.    
        
Not all of the 34 sirens in Kenton County have a plaque, nor was there a special ceremony for them. However, this siren is important because it was needed on March 2, 2012, when an F4 tornado ripped across the Northern Kentucky area destroying 213 homes, damaging another 550 structures, and taking four lives.

In November 2012, Steve Hensley, Director of Kenton County’s Emergency Management contacted the NKAPC GIS department asking to create a map that pinpoints all 33 existing warning sirens across Kenton County. This project utilized software which not only located the sirens, but also illustrated 1- and 2-mile buffers around each one. This map helped determine how well a siren could be heard if it was visible from a certain site and distance.

When the map was finished in December 2012, NKAPC staff members began travelling to specific locations around the county to see if the audibility estimations were correct. Individuals would be ready to conduct a field check during the existing sirens’ monthly tests. Their reports included feedback as to how many sirens could be seen and heard, and the wind direction at that time.

This data was charted to reflect the areas protected and unprotected by the warnings, and the location for Kenton County’s 34th siren was chosen. Through the collaborative efforts of everyone involved, the siren now stands ready.

Click here for WLWT’s coverage of the dedication.

While there is no way to stop tornados from entering our region, it can be made certain that the warning goes out to those communities in danger.