A siren in Toulouse, France. (Photo europe-cities.com)
MARIGOT--The Collectivité said three sirens from Système d’Alerte et d’Information à la Population (SAIP) will be installed in the territory of St. Martin by the company Eiffage, May 17-20. This first phase of installation will allow the districts of Marigot, Quartier d’Orléans and Grand-Case to be equipped with SAIP sirens.
SAIP is a system allowing the dissemination of a signal or a message by authorities. Its objective is to alert the population exposed, or likely to be exposed to the consequences of an imminent or ongoing serious event, a natural threat (e.g. cyclone, tsunami, flood, landslide) or technological (industrial, biological) accident.
On the day the installations are completed, the sirens will sound a first cycle, recognisable thanks to an ascending and descending sound. The alert signal will follow three cycles of this sound separated by intervals of five seconds. In a real situation, when the population hears the signal, they must seek a place of safety and keep themselves informed.
Tests will be carried out monthly, to ensure the proper functioning of the warning and Information system. As in metropolitan France, tests will be on the first Wednesday of each month, at noon. In case of a siren alert, one must immediately move to a closed room, preferably without windows, carefully sealing all openings (cracks, doors, vents, chimneys, etc.), turn off air conditioning, heating and ventilation, and listen to the radio.
One should not stay inside a vehicle, pick up children from school (teachers are trained to ensure their safety), or make phone calls (networks must remain available for emergency services). Persons should not stay close to windows or open windows to see what is going on outside. Neither should they light any kind of flame (risk of explosion) or leave a shelter without instructions from the authorities.
Following the passage of major hurricanes in September 2017, the Overseas Blue Book validated the principle of the deployment of the alert and Information system to the population of St. Martin.
The system is a means of alert that can be triggered remotely from Paris or by the Préfecture of St. Martin/St. Barths. The decision is made by the Inter-Ministerial Crisis Management Operational Centre COGIC, a civil security crisis management command body under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior. Locally, the president of the Collectivité can also sound the alarm manually from a control box, as part of his prerogative to safeguard the population.
As part of preparations for the upcoming hurricane season, the annual preparatory meeting will be held with all the partners and services present, in the Chamber of Commerce building, 2:00-4:00pm Wednesday, June 1.