If you are easily alarmed or get spooked by extended sirens sounding across the landscape, be sure to keep in mind this Saturday that “It’s only a test!”
The regularly-scheduled siren test for Berrien County’s Emergency Alert and Notification System happens at 1:00 pm on the first Saturday of the month and typically lasts for about one minute. In April of each year, however, the sirens will sound for a full three minutes.
Kevin Simpson is Cook Nuclear Plant Emergency Preparedness Manager for Indiana Michigan Power. He points out that, “People in the area are used to hearing the sirens run for about one minute on the first Saturday of the month, however, every April, we test the sirens for a full three minutes to make sure they will work for a longer period. We try to get the word out about this longer test so no one gets unnecessarily concerned.”
The 70 omni-directional electronic sirens are an important part of Berrien County’s Alert and Notification System within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone radius of the Cook Plant in Bridgman. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Emergency 911 System will occasionally get calls during Cook’s regular siren testing. This notification of the longer April test is being made to minimize those distractions.
Sirens and other basic emergency information can be found in the emergency information calendars that are produced by the Cook Plant and mailed annually to residents and businesses in Berrien County.
Cook Communications Manager Bill Downey says, “We have a great emergency calendar that’s become somewhat of a staple in the community for its great local photography,” and adds, “The extended April siren test is always a good reminder to take time to review the calendar information and to share it with folks who may not be familiar with the siren system.”
While regular monthly tests last about one minute, the sirens would sound for three to five minutes in the event of a real emergency, and residents should tune to local radio or television stations for more information during such occasions.
If you have questions or would like a copy of the emergency information calendar, visit www.cookinfo.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Cook Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/CookNuclear. Also, for your protection, authorities ask that you please report non-working sirens right away. If you note a problem with a siren near your home, call the Berrien County Emergency Management Office at 269-983-7111 x4915.
Cook Nuclear Plant is owned and operated by Indiana Michigan Power, headquartered in Fort Wayne. At full capacity, the 1,084-net MW Unit 1 and 1,194-net MW Unit 2 combined produce enough electricity for more than one and one half million average homes. Indiana Michigan Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.