A construction crew contracted by the city has begun installation on a first-of-its-kind outdoor warning siren system.
The Outdoor Warning Siren (OWS) network, consisting of 12 outdoor sirens, is intended to be employed as a notification tool in the event of natural and manmade disasters, primarily for those who are outside when something dangerous happens. Such incidents could include wildfires, earthquakes, terrorism, severe weather and flooding due to water dam failure.
The city currently employs a text message alert system to keep residents, community members and other stakeholders informed about relevant information pertaining to public safety. The OWS network would be an additional tool in the emergency-response toolbox.
“It’s another layer of a notification system to alert residents about potential hazards, whether manmade or natural,” Samer Elayyan, the city’s engineering services manager, told the Courier.
The program was spurred by the devastating California wildfires in 2018 and 2019, though the warning system is being designed to address a wide range of possible disasters. After the wildfires, City Council directed staff to explore the feasibility of an outdoor warning system, collaborating on the effort with Public Works, the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Public Information Office and the Office of Emergency Management.
A $1.37 million contract to lead the installation was awarded to Folsom, California-based construction company Syblon Reid in September 2022. In March 2023, Syblon Reid began installing the siren system at 12 different locations within the city—six located north of Sunset Boulevard, and six placed south of Sunset Boulevard. The contractor’s work is expected to continue through August 2023.
The one-dozen sirens are being strategically placed around the city to ensure maximum audible coverage in case of an emergency. According to Elayyan, the next phase of the project will include determining what the tones will sound like.
So far, nine sirens have been installed. And once they’ve all been put into place, the city will undertake a public information campaign, including holding trainings and community meetings publicized in multiple media outlets, so that the siren tones can be understood. The goal will be educating people about what action to take when they hear a siren.
For additional information about the new outdoor warning system, visit www.beverlyhills.org/siren. For questions, reach out to the city’s Public Works Customer Service line at 310-285-2497.