Pierce County’s 17 outdoor lahar sirens in the Puyallup River Valley sounded at noon today in a successful test of the equipment and sound coverage, the county said.
The sirens warn of impending volcanic mudflow from Mount Rainier. Since October, the county has tested them once a month.
The sirens are meant to be heard by people who are outdoors, said Paul Shukovsky, a Pierce County Emergency Management spokesman. They’re part of a multi-layered warning system that would be employed in a real lahar event, he said.
There also would be warnings on TV and radio, and the Pierce County ALERT system would be used to notify people via home telephone. People can opt to have their cell phones, work phones and e-mail addresses added to the system.
The patchwork of lahar sirens in the Puyallup River Valley, including some that dated back to the civil defense era, used to be unreliable and routinely failed during tests.
But 17 were upgraded and connected after the state Legislature provided a $300,000 appropriation in 2008. The county operates those sirens. There also still are a handful of older sirens that aren’t operated by the county.
Glenda Carino, Puyallup spokeswoman, said the two older sirens in her city also were tested today and sounded successfully.