AHAB added in Ocean City State Park during the summer of 2021 with partnership of Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
Grays Harbor County has a network of 36 All Hazard Alert Broadcast System (AHAB) sirens. These sirens are often referred to as "Tsunami Sirens". They are located on the outer coast in Pacific Beach, Copalis Beach, Ocean City, Ocean Shores, Moclipis, Quinault, Westport, Grayland, and in the cities of Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Cosmopolis.
What is AHAB?
The All Hazard Alert Broadcast System is a single unit or network of warning sirens strategically placed to warn those who are outside or who are in close proximity to a siren. AHABs are not intended to be heard indoors. The sirens are placed on the top of a pole which looks much like any other utility pole.
How does AHAB activate?
AHABs can be activated through a secure satellite signal from anywhere. Both Grays Harbor County Emergency Management and the Washington State Emergency Management Division have access to activate these sirens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In the case of a tsunami warning, the State Emergency Management Division would activate the AHABs in order to provide us with as much warning as possible. Other events such as a hazardous material incident would prompt Grays Harbor County Emergency Management to active the AHABs with instructions on how to shelter-in-place.
What should I do when I hear the siren?
If it is the 1st Monday of the Month at noon or the 3rd Thursday of October in the 10:00 hour the sirens are most likely being tested. This testing ensure that they are working properly and also provides opportunity to train additional operators. This testing is routine and necessary. Please do NOT call 911.
If it is outside of these times, listen to the message being sent after the alarm. If the message is unclear, go somewhere you can listen to local radio to obtain information. Follow the instructions being provided by local offices. DO NOT CALL 911 UNLESS YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
Continue to listen to local radio and instructions from emergency personnel. Follow the recommendations provided. Help your neighbors. Wait for an "All Clear" message before returning to low lying areas or exiting your shelter.
Testing of Sirens
There are multiple types of tests performed on AHABs:
- The first Monday of every month at Noon, there is a test of all sirens in the State of Washington. This test includes an audible Westminster chimes followed by a recording that this is a test.
- Daily silent tests where the sirens perform a "self-check" of all of their components and sends a comprehensive report to Washington State Emergency Management.
- Annually, during the Great ShakeOut, the sirens are activated with the wailing sound. This is the sound that will be utilized during a tsunami event. The Great ShakeOut is the 3rd Thursday of October every year. The time of activation follows the date of the test. 2021's Great ShakeOut will be October 21, 2021 @ 10:21 AM.
How do I observe a siren?
During the monthly tests of the AHAB sirens, each siren needs to be observed. Currently, Grays Harbor County is looking for volunteers to help observe these sirens. Observing a siren involves being reliably near your assigned siren the first Monday of every month at 12:00 Noon and able to fill out and return a form with observation information.
If you are interested in observing a siren, please send us an email with your name, phone number, and the tower you wish to observe at email@example.com.
Grays Harbor County Notification System
AHABs are only one part of Grays Harbor County's Notification System. AHABs are designed to only be heard while outdoors and within a 1 mile radius of a siren.
Other parts of the notification system include:
NOAA All Hazard ALERT Weather Radios
These radios are the indoor equivalent to the AHAB sirens and can be activated for many other kinds of weather and non-weather emergencies. These can be purchased at many local hardware stores, retail outlets or on-line for about $25-$50. They are dependable, low cost and easy to program.
RAVE Alert/Smart 911
RAVE Alert/Smart 911 is the primary way that Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is able to alert the public of local emergencies. We can send out notifications via email, voice call and/or text messages. This system is completely free. Sign up now at: Sign Up - Smart911
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) are two other methods that Grays Harbor County can alert the public. Wireless Emergency Alerts come through all cell phones within the geographic area that the alert is sent to. These are often used for Amber Alerts. The Emergency Alert System is also only activated to the geographic area in which the alert is sent to but comes across TVs, Radios, and Public Addressing Systems such as digital billboards.
What should I do to prepare for an AHAB activation?
Thinking about and planning of this possibility will help during a crisis. Consider the following:
- Have a plan. Talk to your family about the routes to high ground from work, school, and shopping. Have copies of evacuation maps in your disaster kits. Decide on a meeting place in case you and your family are separated. Have an out-of-area contact. Family Emergency Plan | ready.org
- Be 2 Weeks Ready Disasters Happen - Are you 2 Weeks Ready?
- Make sure your vehicle has a half tank of gas at all times.
- Keep your cell phone charged and ready for use at all times. Enter the phone number of your emergency contact(s) under ICE - in case of emergency. Keep a wired telephone at home. Wireless handsets will not work if there is a power outage.
- Try to keep some cash on hand. ATMs and credit cards may not be usable.
- Remain alert to sever weather and possible watches and warnings. Be prepared with sufficient non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, blankets, and personal hygiene items.