AHAB needs higher pole

The warning system that will alert Oak Harbor of imminent danger is ready to be installed once the pole arrives.

An All-Hazard Alert Broadcasting system, or AHAB, will be placed on a 70-foot tower at the intersection of Whidbey and Heller roads.

“The pole has been the only hang-up,” said Mike Simmons, Island County Department of Emergency Management planner.

The county commissioners approved Monday an interagency agreement with the city of Oak Harbor for the warning system, which has the ability to transmit sound 1.5 miles in all directions.

The original pole would not have been sufficient to clear the water towers in AHAB’s vicinity.

“We had to get it higher,” Simmons said. “Once we get the pole, it’s fairly straight forward. It’s not a complex installation.”

In addition to a siren, the warning system has flashing lights and can broadcast public address announcements, which would mean a really loud voice alerting people of some danger.

The AHAB will be self-sufficiently powered through deep-cell batteries, which will work during power outages.

A state grant will pick up $35,000 of the $50,000. The county will pick up the rest. Eventually, county emergency officials hope to have four of AHABs on Whidbey Island.

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