Tsunami warning sirens set for Hug Point, Arcadia Beach

The siren tower near the intersection of Washington Street and Ocean Avenue.

The Cannon Beach Rural Fire District voted to invest in a project to install sirens at Hug Point and Arcadia Beach — two of the most used parks on the North Coast without direct tsunami warning coverage.

The fire district will receive between two to four tsunami sirens for free from Clatsop County Emergency Management’s surplus, board member Garry Smith said at the district’s monthly meeting Monday. The sirens are compatible with the community warning system, or COWS — a voice warning messaging system known for its distinctive, cow-like siren.

While Smith said he expected delivery from the county to Cannon Beach within the month, they wouldn’t be installed for the next two to four years, he said.

“We need to save up more money,” Smith said. “We upgraded six sirens in Cannon Beach, which cost about $50,000, so we depleted our savings.”

Waiting at least two years will allow the fire district to incorporate these projects into future budgets, as well as give them time to work with any rules or regulations set by Oregon State Parks.

While the sirens themselves will be from the county, necessary improvements such as buying new batteries, a new voice board and other materials could total more than $35,000 each.

Installing just the pole can cost up to $15,000, Smith said.

But with multiple years to budget the funds, Smith said he thinks these sirens could make a significant impact.

“It would complete our coverage of the area,” Smith said. “It’s a mega-saver for the people who use those parks. It’s the only area in the tsunami zone that attracts a lot of people not covered by tsunami sirens.”

Fellow board member Bob Cerelli said the decision is in line with the fire district’s overall goal.

“We are continuing our efforts to keep this community safe,” he said.

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