What kind of warning system should be used in flood-risk areas?
Floods are just one of many natural disasters; still, they are the number one disaster in Europe, according to EM-DAT data. Here, floods occur on average 13 to 14 times per year and, compared to other hazards, they affect the second-largest population (the largest of all, regarding the number of the exposed population, being extreme droughts). The frequency of floods and tidal rains has been steadily increasing. Since 2010, climatologists have seen up to a 50 per cent growth worldwide. Therefore, flood protection is becoming an increasingly important priority. It needs to be focused on two main tasks: to preventatively minimise potential damage and alert the population in time.
Early warning in flood-risk areas
Modern safety systems make it possible to protect lives by giving early warnings in high-risk areas such as those around rivers or waterways. They also include a siren warning system that can provide the residents in question with instant information on an approaching danger.
The sirens are connected to a central monitoring system (such as the Vektra® software) equipped with installed sensors, which sends a threat signal automatically or after manual activation. The signal input immediately activates the warning system. However, due to its configurations, any random or accidental activation is prevented, for example, when water suddenly splashes into a certain height.
Projects in Slovakia and abroad
The combined system of the Vektra® software and warning sirens can be found in Slovakia, for example, near Košice at the Bukovec reservoir. A potential flood could endanger approximately 5,000 people living nearby. However, by installing only as few as six Pavian sirens, it is possible to give warnings to the population in due time.
Naturally, there are more extensive projects around the world, involving tens of thousands of people in vast territories. Telegrafia, for example, has participated in a siren installation project on the Limpopo River in South-East Africa.
The advantages of sirens for inundation areas
Modern warning systems are easily scalable, and sirens used in flood zones offer several specific benefits:
- Multiple warning options
Sirens can be activated remotely, and besides long alert tones, modern sirens can intelligibly reproduce pre-recorded voice messages. In an emergency, they can even reproduce live voice immediately via a microphone, which is useful when the population living in remote areas from those inundation-risk areas need to be warned, or specific instructions are to be issued to the community.
- Independent and reliable power supply
Torrential rains or floods often lead to the interruption of power supply from the mains. In case of a power failure, modern sirens have backup batteries, lasting up to 72 hours, which enable the sirens to reliably sound alarms whenever necessary and, at the same time, maintain the electricity consumption very low.
Siren functions can be controlled remotely and silently. Modern sirens can diagnose their own parameters and send all essential information to a control centre. This greatly facilitates the siren control in remote areas, reduces the maintenance costs, plus the inhabitants are not unnecessarily exposed to loud tones.
- Easy installation and robustness
Siren installation is straightforward; they can be installed on a pole near a water reservoir, dam or even in a forest. They are robust, made of durable, weather-resistant materials. When suitably positioned, they can acoustically cover quite a large area.
It is possible to warn the population in flood-risk areas using a few safety features nowadays. External, stationary sirens, suitably positioned and cleverly connected to the Vektra® system, responsible for technological monitoring, diagnostics and notification, and possibly to other elements such as a PA system, can ensure that alerts are reliably and timely issued and human lives adequately protected as a result.
The article was written by
Zuzana works at Telegrafia at the marketing department. Her main responsibility is to keep an eye on Google Ads and Facebook. Online marketing is changing all the time, giving her the chance to expand her knowledge constantly and put it into real practice. After work, she relaxes best by going to the gym and watching good films.