The annual testing of the Pacific County All Hazard Broadcast (AHAB) sirens occurred today in conjunction with the Great Washington Shakeout. The Shakeout urges residents to be prepared for emergencies and disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. The sirens are a signal for residents to move to higher ground when a tsunai threatens.
The nearest test site to me was Bay Center so I ran over to see – and hear – what happens in a place that is barely above sea level. People were generally out of sight, except some guy with cameras and a tripod (me). Wildlife and cattle appeared not to notice. Three bald eagles kept an eye on me for awhile, but either decided I wasn’t worth eating or simply wasn’t entertaining enough.
The siren is not actually in town but off somewhere else that I never did locate. The result is an eerie wail that echoes across the bay, just loud enough to make you wonder what it is. According to Pacific County Emergency Management the siren is not designed to be heard indoors nor further away than 4,500 feet (less in poor weather). Residents are encouraged to use NOAA weather radios to make sure they quickly learn of an actual emergency.
There are eleven sirens in Pacific County situated along the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay, each costing about $50,000 per installation. Current installations include Ilwaco, Seaview, Long Beach, Surfside, Ocean Park, and Bay Center. More sirens are planned to fill the gaps between existing locations.
The Barrel Jumpers, an Americana Folk/Bluegrass band from Nashville, performed a special concert for the residents of Willapa Harbor Health and Rehab Center in Raymond, Washington. The group was formed in the spring of 2010 by siblings Rachel (vocals) and Jeremy Johnson (guitar) with Robert Phaneuf (mandolin) and later joined by Bill Baldock (bass) and Al Goll (dobro).
The Barrel Jumpers played at the Raymond Theater earlier in the day. They appeared later at Willapa Harbor Health and Rehab Center as the guests of the Seaquest Hotel of South Bend, to give Center residents a chance to enjoy a musical treat that they would otherwise have been unable to attend.
Photos by David Cooley.
|Willapa Harbor Health and Rehab Center, Raymond, Washington
|Seaquest Hotel, South Bend, Washington