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.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Clatsop County Emergency Division and CBRFPD requires CBRFPD to: 1) retain the sirens as part of the district property inventory and not dispose of or transfer them to another agency without prior approval from the County; 2) Install and test the sirens; and 3) Maintain and regularly test the sirens.
All costs associated with installation, operation, testing, maintenance, and liability is 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. Currently we have one non-functional speaker. Unfortunately, we cannot fix this type of issue quickly due to lack of parts and limited labor pool.
We have two more poles and sirens to be installed in Arcadia and Hug Point. However, the cost to do this including power supply, is prohibitive with the current CB Fire finances. This is underfunded through the COWS Reserve budget line item.