A test of an emergency siren to be conducted Wednesday on DP Road

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By Special to the Monitor

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Los Alamos County will conduct a monthly test of the siren located at the Material Disposal Area B (MDA B) located along DP Road. The test is expected to take approximately 10 seconds and the public in the immediate vicinity will hear a brief “bells/chimes” pattern, which is the test alert. The siren is in place to alert the public to take some precautionary protective actions. Monthly tests will occur at 2 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month from this test until the project concludes next year.
Phil Taylor, emergency management specialist, said the monthly test is simply a safety precaution to ensure the siren is working, and residents should not be alarmed.
“In any kind of remediation work, a wide range of unplanned events could occur. At the low end, that unplanned event could be a worker sustaining a minor injury on the job.  On the extreme end, there could be a serious event such as a fire or explosion.  Emergency responders must be prepared for all contingencies. In the case of MDA B, because of its close proximity to local businesses and residences, there is an elevated public concern. The best way to mitigate that concern is to be informed, be aware and be prepared,” he said.
As a reminder, the siren patterns are:
• Alert Tone:  a 15-second hi/lo pattern followed by a “take shelter immediately” voice message
• All-clear Tone: a 15-second steady pattern followed by a “resume normal activities” voice message
• Monthly test: a brief “bell/chimes” pattern
If residents and businesses in the immediate vicinity of the worksite hear an alert tone, they should shelter in place, which means individuals should stay inside a building or, if outside, they should go inside a building, shut the doors and windows, and secure air intakes, outside ventilation and air conditioners.  
Taylor said it’s important to take steps in advance and be prepared. He suggests all residents and businesses have a reliable AM radio that they could tune to the county’s emergency broadcast station, 1610 AM. The station will broadcast updates, situation reports and instructions.
In conjunction with this week’s test for the MDA B siren, Taylor said the county will also test its Everbridge notification system, notifying only those homes and businesses in the adjacent DP Road area.  The test will occur several minutes in advance of the siren test.  
“The call recipient will hear my voice stating ‘this is an important message from Los Alamos County.  Please listen to the message in its entirety,’” he said.
Land lines are automatically registered with Everbridge. However, residents and those traveling to work in Los Alamos are encouraged to register their cell phones and e-mail addresses, too.
To opt into the Everbridge notification system - visit the County’s emergency management webpage at www.losalamosnm.us/emo/Pages/default.aspx and click on the Citizen Alert signup button.