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Publish Date: 12/27/2006

Warning-system towers still waiting to be installed


LONGMONT — Fire officials are still finalizing installation of a $350,000 citywide warning system intended to alert residents to dangers both natural and man-made.

Three of the system’s 16 towers have not yet been installed, victims of neighbors who were reluctant to accept their presence. The city had gone through a public siting process to select the locations but bowed to the wishes of residents who complained after the fact.

The silver towers come in two heights — 68 feet and 58 feet — and are topped by a bank of four horn-shaped speakers that slowly rotate to better broadcast messages.

“This pretty much blankets the entire city with coverage,” Longmont Fire Battalion Chief Tom Montoya said. “They’re designed to be heard outside. They’re designed to tell you to go from outside to inside where you can get shelter.”

The new warning system, designed by ATI Systems of Boston, gets power from two sources: solar panels and battery backups. The system is controlled through radio transmissions, which means it can be triggered by emergency workers even if phone lines go down.

The alerts are intended to be heard outside only.

The three sirens yet to be installed will be placed at the Ute Creek Golf Course maintenance facility, at 75th Street near Mount Sanitas Drive, and at the Longmont Emergency Unit headquarters at 17th Avenue and Terry Street.

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