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Only a test: Fire department gets alarms

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By Jenna McKenna

Cedar Key Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Robinson said the department recently got three alarm sirens and control panels, donated by Progress Energy Florida through the Florida Department of Emergency Management. Robinson said the fire department would begin testing its three new sirens at various locations throughout Cedar Key to determine the best permanent locations for them.

"Over the next two weeks, we'll be testing the sirens," he said. Firefighters will play the sirens in bursts of approximately three minutes, then determine how well the alarms are distributed. A few distinct tones will be chosen to alert residents to emergencies, and citizens will be advised of the correct emergency protocol some time in the near future.

"We don't want people to be frightened while we're testing the alarms," Robinson said. "If they're near the sirens, it will be very loud."

Loud, and valuable. Robinson hopes educating people to key to mandatory evacuations or voluntary evacuations based on a distinct alarm tone will help free up emergency personnel from driving around making announcements to more proactive emergency and rescue duties, the better to serve Cedar Key during a crisis.