Tuesday May 8, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The emergency warning siren at Herberg Middle School has been disconnected while Pittsfield Fire Department officials try to figure out the malfunction that's causing it to sound off unexpectedly.

Several times during the past 10 days, the siren has sounded by accident, Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski indicated in a news release.

"Unfortunately, some of these activations have occurred at less than opportune times which may have disturbed the local residents. The Pittsfield Fire Department [and] Emergency Management Agency would like to apologize for these disruptions to your lives," Czerwinski's news release stated.

The city's 13 early warning emergency sirens are being upgraded, a multi-year effort to rebuild existing equipment and create a new warning system. In the process, remote radio receivers are being installed to each siren to allow for mass activation of the sirens.

The sirens would sound during emergencies, such as floods, tornados or chemical releases. Once the system is upgraded, officials will launch an information campaign to tell residents what to do when the sirens activate.

Herberg Middle School, located at 501 Pomeroy Ave., appears to have the only malfunctioning siren. To report siren malfunctions, call (413) 448-9761.