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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News Tribune Randy Vandelicht, a signal technician for Meyer Electric, attaches a solar panel to a just-installed 60-foot pole that now holds the speaker system and power supply for the outdoor warning siren. Vandelicht is part of the crew who set the pole and provided installation for the equipment.

An outdoor warning siren to serve the Eugene area was installed Friday.

The Cole County Commission accepted a $30,000 grant from the State Emergency Management Agency in March allowing the county to install the siren.

The county would pay an additional cost, estimated by Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr to be $5,000, for the work to place the pole and siren.

The siren is located on Old U.S. 54, which allows it to be heard within a 2-mile radius including locations such as Redfield Golf Course and the Cole County R-5 public schools, he said.

The commission in 2012 approved installation of 14 outdoor sirens throughout the county; the work was completed in 2013.

Instead of the old siren sounding, a voice will come over the speakers to say it is a test, followed by Westminster Chimes and a voice saying the test has ended.

"We've got it set up now so that the only time the siren sound will go off is when there is a tornado threat," Farr said. "At least once a year, we will have to have the siren sound go off — definitely during the statewide tornado drill."

The county agreed to pay Meyer Electric $351,529.30 for the 14 sirens — $25,109.25 per siren.

Communities such as St. Thomas, Russellville, Taos, St. Martins and Wardsville received sirens after agreeing to contribute money.

Sirens also were placed in unincorporated areas such as along Country Club Drive and Scott Station and Zion roads in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Farr said while there is now much better outdoor warning coverage throughout the county, some areas still remain to be addressed, such as Honey Creek.