Citizens and visitors along the coast are among the most vulnerable to hazardous weather conditions, including earthquakes and tsunamis. The COWS is a warning siren system intended to alert visitors and residents to evacuate or seek shelter in an emergency. The Emergency Management Division of Clatsop County received the sirens and poles from the Oregon Military Department.
Cannon Beach Fire District worked with Clatsop County many years ago to install a tsunami siren system.
All costs associated with installation, operation, testing, maintenance, and liability were assumed by CBRFPD. Costs incurred by the District include battery replacements, setting sirens/posts, and component replacements. These costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars and the COWS Maintenance general ledger account is under-funded.
The age of the system makes it difficult to find parts. Further, there is labor-intensive effort that has to be placed into the system when broken. We test the system on a regular basis.
In 2022 Cannon Beach Fire District signed an agreement with the City of Cannon Beach to transfer operations and maintenance of the system to the City of Cannon Beach. The controller still is in the fire station, but the City of Cannon Beach has been working to upgrade the system. The system is currently functional, however there are upgrades in process that will improve the system to a warning system not just for tsunami, but any other emergencies. Speakers are in the process of being replaces, keep a look out for information on upgrades.