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The Vail Fire Department has postponed its testing an acoustical warning device from the West Vail Fire Station this week to provide available resources associated with a new winter storm warning. Originally scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 7, the test will be rescheduled in April. When the test is deployed, residents in the neighborhood will hear test messages as officials evaluate the effectiveness and range of the system.
The device is a powerful, directional speaker that has the ability to be heard a quarter mile away. The test messages may also be audible inside buildings and will last 10 seconds at a time. The message will say “this is a test of the long range acoustical device.” Residents do not need to take any action.
A similar test took place last May as the department evaluates various products for acquisition. The long-range acoustical warning system is part of an effort to ensure there are redundant emergency notification systems in place to reach citizens in the event of an evacuation or shelter in place order issued by emergency responders.
Fire Chief Mark Novak says the intensity of regional wildfire activity in 2018 demonstrated the challenges of providing timely notification and reaching all members of the community. He says systems such as an acoustical warning device provide an alternative mechanism to provide emergency notification when time is of the essence.
As an additional notification tool, Chief Novak advises residents to check to make sure they’re receiving emails or text alerts that originate from the Vail Public Safety Communications Center via ecalert.org and to review Vail’s neighborhood evacuation plan at vailgov.com/evac which includes an alternate evacuation route for residents in East Vail.
For more information, contact Chief Novak at 970-477-3474.