Friday, February 23, 2018
Business

Warning sirens at Port to be upgraded

TAMPA — The Port of Tampa will upgrade its siren warning system, which alerts port workers and residents when something goes really wrong with the handling of hazardous materials that are stored on port land, transported by sea or carried across city streets on railroad cars.

People had trouble understanding those warnings when the sirens blared three times this summer: A slow-moving train derailed with 4,500 gallons of flammable ethanol on July 25, and two fires erupted in a sulfur storage tank in August, releasing a toxic cloud.

So the Tampa Port Authority's governing board decided Tuesday to spend $616,000 to improve the siren warning system and control stations.

The new sirens will be louder, clearer and have a greater range than the old ones. They'll blare and broadcast the old pre-recorded warnings telling people to stay inside or flee the area.

But officials also will be able to use the new system to broadcast live instructions, so they can explain exactly what people should do during another emergency.

"I know that after the last sulfur incident, there was a lot of concern in the community about the siren system," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who sits on the port board. "I think this will go a long way to improving that."

Murman said it was also good to see emergency officials from the port, city and county working together to better inform residents about the siren system. That will include a public education campaign that will start when the new sirens are installed, so that people will actually know what they should do when the new sirens activate.

Emergency officials at Tuesday's board meeting said residents have become too used to the old warning sirens erupting, because they are tested frequently.

The project must be done by the end of July 2014 or the port will lose the $425,000 federal grant that will help pay for it. The port is putting up the other $191,000.

The port awarded the $616,000 contract to Flores & Harper Construction Inc. of Temple Terrace. But Flores will team up with a national company, Federal Signal Corp., because the local company has no experience installing siren warning systems, according to the port.

The port stores and ships plenty of petroleum products. But another concern is the release of anhydrous ammonia, a colorless gas used as fertilizer. Small doses can cause irritation, while high levels of exposure can be fatal.

Upgraded control stations to activate the new sirens also will be installed at these port facilities: CF Industries, Kinder-Morgan, Yara North America and the Tampa Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected] or @jthalji on Twitter.

Comments
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Updated: 9 hours ago
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Updated: 11 hours ago
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18
Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

A week after Bloomberg reported that Southeastern Grocers — the Jacksonville retailer that owns Winn-Dixie and other chains — could be closing up to 200 stores, the company announced it was selling off eight of its Louisiana locations.Texas’ Brooksh...
Published: 02/23/18