Boise Foothills flash flood sirens don't work anymore

sberg@idahostatesman.comAugust 23, 2013 

On Sept. 11, 1997, the day after the city of Boise installed seven flash flood sirens in the Foothills, the sirens sounded an alarm.

Flooding that day caused damage to the Crane Creek Country Club golf course, Ada County Director of Emergency Management Doug Hardman said Friday.

Since then, the sirens have gone off only once, and that was in 1998, Hardman said. In the 15 years since that last alarm, he said, flood control structures made of mini-dams and holding ponds have absorbed the brunt of any would-be flooding in the Foothills.

The flash flood sirens have also stopped working, because they’re not compatible with modern software that now powers emergency response dispatch in Ada County.

The question is whether Boise should replace them.

“There's not the debris-flow risk that there used to be,” Hardman said.

In 1996, the city paid about $100,000 for the seven sirens, Hardman said. They were installed in response to the now famous 8th Street Fire, which earlier that year burned wide swaths of the Foothills and raised concerns about flooding, particularly in the springtime when snow melts.

Besides the reduced danger due to flood control structures, people who live near the Foothills can now use a host of warning systems that deliver emergency messages to their landline phones, cell phones and email addresses.

Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan said he'll analyze the city's options and report on them to Mayor David Bieter and the City Council in the next couple weeks.

For more information about your emergency alert options, call Ada County-City Emergency Management at (208) 577-4750 or visit the agency’s website.

Here’s a brochure of pointers to help you enhance your emergency preparedness.

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