Seattle, Wash. -- The contract to distribute Tone-Alert Radios to residents of Morrow and Umatilla counties in Northeast Oregon as part of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), has been awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Radios Service Company, Inc. of Kennewick Wash., received the contract valued at $598,000.
Up to 17,000 Tone-Alert Radios will be distributed at no cost to residences, businesses and occupied structures in communities near the Army's Umatilla Chemical Depot. The distribution process will require several months to complete and is scheduled to begin later this fall as the radios arrive from the manufacturer, Federal Warning Systems of University Park, Ill.
Tone-Alert Radios will augment the area's existing emergency warning system that includes sirens, highway reader boards, and the Emergency Alert System. The system is designed to alert the public in the unlikely event of a chemical release from the Umatilla Chemical Depot. A similar warning system is nearing completion across the Columbia River in Benton County, Washington, where Tone-Alert Radios are currently being distributed.
FEMA regional director David de Courcy, said, "This is the final and most important piece of the CSEPP Alert and Notification System. The Tone-Alert Radio gives local emergency managers a vastly improved capability to alert the public of a chemical release at the Depot."
Tone-Alert Radios will alert people who happen to be indoors at the time of an emergency using an 85-decibel tone, followed by a bilingual verbal broadcast with emergency information and a specific protective action. A strobe light accessory is available for the radio to aid in warning the hearing impaired.
Citizens can expect to be told one of three things by officials in a chemical emergency: shelter-in-place, which is the most likely protective action for Oregonians; evacuate, which is the most likely protective action for Washingtonians; or simply to stay inside and monitor their Tone-Alert Radios for further instructions and updates.
While CSEPP is providing Tone-Alert Radios to alert the public in the unlikely event of a chemical release from the Depot, the radio gives emergency officials the flexibility to alert the public to other public safety hazards as well, such as severe weather or wildfires. In addition to these warnings, the radios will allow people to listen to weather forecasts from the National Weather Service at the push of a button.
The Umatilla Chemical Depot stores nearly 12 percent of the nation's stockpile of chemical weapons. Congress has directed the Army to dispose of the weapons by the year 2007 to meet the obligations of a multinational treaty to eliminate chemical weapons.