Kodiak tsunami warning sirens

Following a site survey in February, two firms contracted by the City of Kodiak have recommended that all 21 of the tsunami warning sirens on the road system be replaced with newer models.

The Kodiak City Council discussed how to fund the replacement of the City of Kodiak’s 12 tsunami sirens at a work session Tuesday. 

Replacing the city’s tsunami sirens has become a top priority since a breakdown in communication occurred following the Nov. 30 earthquake that struck near Anchorage. 

The city was awarded about $250,000 from a Homeland Security grant to help fund the tsunami siren replacement. It also applied for a $110,000 grant from NOAA, City Manager Mike Tvenge said during Tuesday’s meeting.  

The funding from both grants would cover six of the sirens, Tvenge said. 

The estimated cost to fund the other six sirens not covered by the grants is about $400,000, Tvenge said, adding that the funds will not be affected by slashes to the state budget because they are federal money administered by the state. 

The State Homeland Security Program provides funds to help communities rapidly recover from natural and manmade incidents. Projects covered under the State Homeland Security Program include those that help businesses and government functions “essential to human health, safety, and/or economic security,” according to the State Homeland Security website. 

The second grant is through the NOAA Tsunami Ready Program, in which the U.S. Department of Commerce provides funds to the State of Alaska to install warning communications systems, tsunami signage and decision-support tools, among other tsunami warning support tools, according to the grant website. 

Although conditions of the grants will not be available until the awarded funding becomes available in October, many federal grants are reimbursable, Tvenge said. This means the city will pay for the sirens up front and once the full cost is paid out, the city can be reimbursed for the amount awarded in the grant. 

Once the funds are awarded in October, the state will need to accept the federal grant. Subsequently, the city will develop a Request for Proposal to contract companies for siren replacement.  Following full payment of the sirens and installation, the city will need to submit receipts for reimbursement from the grants.  

Council member John Whiddon said buying all the sirens at once “makes sense from a community safety and public safety perspective,” so that there is continuity among all 12 siren models for repair purposes. 

The council agreed to move forward and plan to purchase the 12 sirens at the same time. 

The city will begin to develop an RFP for tsunami siren bids, as well as create a budget and timeline for the process. 

“I like the idea of getting the job done even though the funding may not be forthcoming,” said council member Charles Davidson. “I think it’s an important enough situation in this subduction zone of the planet that we definitely have a priority — like we named it — and we should stick with that priority.”. 

Tvenge estimated the process to apply for funding, advertise for their placement and install them would take about a year. 

 

 

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