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The loss of Guernsey's sirens is 'not a public risk'

Public Warning Siren on Victoria Tower
One of the 14 sirens is due to be kept for ceremonial use

Assurances are being given by the Home Department that the decision to silence Guernsey's public warning sirens will not put the public at risk.

It follows criticism of the move by a deputy and members of the public.

The sirens are to be replaced by a text message alert being sent to islanders' mobile phones.

Home Minister Geoff Mahy said despite having only had the most basic discussions with local phone operators adequate measures are in place.

The likelihood of an emergency affecting the whole island at once is extremely slim.
Geoff Mahy

The department said the 14 sirens were ineffective and expensive to maintain with repairs estimated at more than £500,000.

Deputy Mahy said the text messages would ask islanders to switch on a local radio station or television broadcaster to get details of the emergency and how to react.

He said: "The information we had from all our research, the emergency services and the leaders and senior representatives who would take charge in an emergency in Guernsey have advised us that it is not necessary to replace the sirens.

"There's no national peacetime warning system in place in the UK, following the demise of the World War II national siren network in 1992.

"The likelihood of an emergency affecting the whole island at once is extremely slim.

"The type of emergencies that are more frequently likely to happen is the possibility of a massive fire maybe at Bulwer Avenue or a plane crash, which we have had over the years, or serious flooding on the West Coast.

"We have a very strong civil defence team of volunteers plus all our emergency services so that the public are kept safe."

Work to take down all but one of the sirens, which will be retained for ceremonial use, is due to start next week.



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SEE ALSO
Removing sirens 'may cost lives'
27 Jan 10 |  Guernsey
Island's warning sirens removed
26 Jan 10 |  Guernsey

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