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MOUNTED NEAR CUNTY COURTHHOUSE, DEVICE SHOULD BE HEARD FROM THREE MILES, COMPANY REP SAYS
The Mobile Communications America company has been contracted by the city of Cotulla to install an emergency siren near the middle of town to warn area residents of dangers, including severe weather, hazardous spills, and civilian crises that require action.
Company representative Chris Gordon, a dealer for Motorola and Whelen emergency warning devices across the United States, told city councilors on Thursday, August 10, that they may see the most use out of the new siren for wildfire alerts and storm warnings, notably tornados. He added that the city may also need to advise residents of a chemical spill on the railroad line, the interstate highway, or from energy industry activity and be alerted to an evacuation order.
According to City Manager David Wright, a number of residents, emergency responders and elected officials have voiced concerns over the city’s lack of an emergency warning siren, an earlier device long having been defunct. Wright said last week that he believes the city should have equipment capable of reaching the entire community with adequate volume to warn of impending danger.
“There has been a demand for this over the years,” Wright said, “and now we have the opportunity to purchase this.”
The device is expected to cost approximately $76,600.
Gordon told councilors on Thursday that his siren will be mounted on 60’ pole near the La Salle County Courthouse and cannot be attached to the city’s vintage water tower in place of previous sirens because of costs related to removing the older equipment.
Gordon also said that the 70-decibel siren may be heard from as far away as three miles, which he estimated as the distance between the Flying J travel center on the northwestern outskirts of town and FM 624 in the southeast.
“This is the biggest on the market,” the company representative said of the device, adding that new technology in the siren controller includes protection from hackers, a battery back-up in the event of a power outage, and remote control for a variety of sounds representing different emergencies. The siren is connected to the National Weather Service for severe storm alerts and may be triggered without a city employee having to throw a switch, he said.
The decision to make the purchase came on a motion by Councilor Eloy Zertuche, seconded by Councilor Manuel Rodriguez and supported by Councilors Tanis Lopez and Alejandro Garcia. Councilor Gilbert Ayala was absent from the Aug. 10 meeting.