KINGSPORT — An expansion of Kingsport’s early warning siren system has been put on hold temporarily as a result of the new sirens not being compatible with the city’s existing radio system.
For decades, Kingsport utilized two sirens — one inside Eastman and another at Domtar — in case of an emergency, such as dangerous weather conditions, a vapor release at Eastman or a hazardous material spill.
Given the prevalence of cell phones and how easily people can access and receive information about emergencies, the city considered abandoning the sirens all together, but reconsidered last year after a series of thunderstorms, hail storms and high winds rocked Northeast Tennessee.
The thinking at the time was Kingsport still needed the sirens as an early warning signal and decided to expand the number from two to four, covering more along the northern and eastern side of town.
Last summer, Kingsport entered into an agreement with West Shore Services of Michigan for the installation of an emergency warning siren system, utilizing the existing siren at Domtar and installing new ones at Fire Station 2 (near Dobyns-Bennett High School), Fire Station 3 (on Memorial Boulevard) and Fire Station 5 (Lynn Garden Drive).
The cost of the sirens and accompanying equipment would have added up to around $98,000.
However, the company was unable to tie the system in with the city’s existing 800 megahertz radio system, Fire Chief Craig Dye said.
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