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It’s tall and it’s loud, and Bellingham’s waterfront will have one

Listen to a test of the Birch Bay tsunami siren

Coastal communities around Washington State, including Birch Bay, tested their tsunami sirens at 10:19am Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. The test was part of the Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake drill.
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Coastal communities around Washington State, including Birch Bay, tested their tsunami sirens at 10:19am Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. The test was part of the Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake drill.

There will be a new tower on Bellingham’s waterfront – a loud one.

The Division of Emergency Management of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office announced the installation of a Hazards Alert Broadcast Siren – commonly known as a tsunami siren – is scheduled Tuesday. It will be installed on South Harbor Loop Drive, near the Salish Star Fire Boat.

Emergency management officials said the location was selected “because it provides the best area coverage for Port of Bellingham businesses, live-a-boards, and others living and working along the waterfront.”

The area of coverage of the siren extends from roughly Boulevard Park on the south, to the old cement plant on the north. Most of downtown Bellingham, the Eldridge neighborhood and all of Roeder Avenue should hear the siren.

The Port of Bellingham siren is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program and the Washington State Military Department, according to a WCSO news release.

This will be the seventh siren installed as part of Whatcom County’s All Hazards Alert Broadcast Warning System.

tsunami sirens
A tsunami warning siren is installed in April 2017 in Birch Bay. Robert Purdom, Washington State Military Department Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Managed by the sheriff’s office, the warning siren can also be activated by the Bellingham Fire and Police departments for other potential emergencies such as hazardous materials accidents, officials said.

All sirens in Whatcom County are tested on the first Monday of each month.

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