The Harford County Department of Emergency Services, in conjunction with Exelon Power, is notifying residents about testing dates this month and next for a new emergency warning siren system for the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in neighboring York County, Pa.
The testing, which begins Wednesday and will run weekly into early August, is being conducted in accordance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements for new siren systems, according to a department of emergency services news release.
The sirens are not a signal to evacuate, the news release emphasizes, noting that while the sirens are an outdoor waning system, they may be heard indoors during the testing. In an actual emergency, residents should tune to the Emergency Alert System radio or television stations for further information.
Exelon, which owns the nuclear generating plant, has installed a new state-of-the art siren system within Peach Bottom's 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone, which includes northern Harford County. According to the new release, the 97 new outdoor warning sirens incorporate a battery powered backup system and an upgraded communication system that enable full functionality in the event of an electrical power outage.
The testing will involve a full volume three minute sounding of the sirens and will occur on the following dates and times:
• Wednesday, July 17, 1 p.m.
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• Wednesday, July 24, 1 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 31, 1 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 6, 8 a.m.
The Aug. 6 test will involve multiple, full volume, three-minute soundings which will commence at 8 a.m. and occur every 1.5 hours for up to six soundings throughout the day. In the event of inclement weather, the Aug. 6 tests will occur on Thursday, Aug. 8 at the same time.
The warning sirens are one of several methods used by county emergency management agencies to provide citizens with notification of emergencies. Individual counties may activate the sirens to warn the surrounding community of any emergency condition.
Residents should contact their respective county Emergency Management Agency at the following numbers should they have any concerns regarding the sirens: Harford County – 410-638-4900; Cecil County – 410-996-5350; York County – 800-762-8218; Lancaster County – 800-808-5236.
"The test of the Peach Bottom area emergency alert sirens are not only required by FEMA, but are necessary to ensure their proper operation in the event of a true emergency", Harford County Emergency Manager Richard Ayers said in the news release. "We want to remind citizens of Harford County, especially those near the Pennsylvania border, the scheduled tests are being done in the interest of public safety and will take little time to complete."