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Nuclear plant to test warning sirens in West Valley

PHOENIX — The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and other agencies will test out 50 outdoor warning sirens in the far West Valley on Wednesday.

If you’re among the 15,000 people who live within a 10-mile radius of Palo Verde or will be driving on Interstate 10 in that area at noon or 12:30, you won’t miss the sound of dozens of warning sirens going off at about 100 decibels.

“It’s definitely going to be loud,” said Pete Weaver with the Maricopa County Division of Emergency Management. “Definitely will hurt your ears.”

Weaver said the sirens will be loud enough that drivers on I-10 hear them so the Arizona Department of Transportation will post signs informing them of the test.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety are part of the drill, along with ham radio operators.

“The volunteers from the West Valley Amateur Radio Club, Tri-City Amateur Radio Club and other ham radio operators will be stationed at each siren and immediately report the siren activation to emergency managers,” Weaver said.

Weaver said these sirens and systems would work in the event that the Internet went down during an emergency.

“We are so technology minded these days,” he said. “If everything is based around the new technology and if they fail, we wouldn’t have these alert systems. These sirens are systems that are tested and true and have weathered the years.”