Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

June 2004

Emergency Warning System
put to the test

On Saturday May 15, 2004, the Vigilant Hose Fire Company activated the Emergency Warning System. Vigilant Hose activated the system due to a reported tornado spotted just south of Emmitsburg and heading north at 35 miles per hour. Other than test, this was the first time the system was activated.

The system was installed less then six months ago and many of us, including myself, thought that it may be a much longer time before there was a need to activate the system. We were very fortunate that the reported tornado did not materialize and hit Emmitsburg as the reported forecasters predicated. I also feel that we were very fortunate that we now have such a system that can be used to warn the community of such emergencies. With the warmer weather here, we now have baseball, swimming and other activates in the parks which create large gatherings of individuals that could be in harms way of a dangerous storm or some other unpredicted emergency.

On Tuesday May 25, 2004 due to reports of tornadoes spotted to the west and to the south west of Emmitsburg, the system was activated again by Frederick County and Vigilant Hose Fire Company. We were especially fortunate of the use of the emergency warning system this time, because this was also one of the nights that Mother Seton School's Carnival was open. With many rides and other equipment subject to various wind conditions, carnival staff was provided with a warning that Emmitsburg was under a tornado warning, it also warned citizen to take shelter in a safe place. This is what the system was planned and designed for, to give our community as much warning and information as possible about actual emergencies or potential emergencies (not just tornadoes) that may effect our community.

Each time the system has been activated, we (The Town, Frederick County, Vigilant Hose and the citizens) learn something new about the system, which helps improve our actions for the next time the system is activated. In the future, Vigilant Hose Fire Company will conduct a monthly test of the system. The test will be conducted on the second Tuesday of every month, and will be begin between 7:15 and 7:30 pm. Once the test is activated, it will take approximately 60 to 90 seconds to complete. The purpose of the test is for community awareness and to run diagnostic testing on the equipment to insure that all equipment is functioning properly. This type of testing also keeps users of the equipment familiar with operating the equipment.

For additional community awareness, the Town will be adding information to the Town's web site and to the Town's cable channel, channel 99. Also Frederick County cable channel, channel 19 provides viewers with information of what every household should have available in a safe place in the event of an emergency. You must prepare for an emergency before it happens.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the town office, or e-mail me at

Jim Hoover

Read Past Issues of 'From Mayor Jim's Desk'