WASHBURN COUNTY -- On Monday, April 1, residents below Xcel Energy’s Trego Hydroelectric Project, about eight miles north of Spooner, will hear a distinctive siren and voice message. At approximately 11 a.m., Xcel Energy, in coordination with Washburn County Emergency Management, the National Park Service and local townships, will test the company’s dam failure warning sirens.

The test will last approximately 90 seconds. During the test, people in the audible area of the two sirens will hear this:

  1. “Attention! This is a test of the dam failure warning system. This is only a test. If this was an actual emergency you would receive instructions. This is only a test.”
  2. Whoop tone for 30 seconds.
  3. Post Test Message: “This has been a test of the dam failure warning system. This was only a test.”

If there was a failure at Xcel Energy’s Trego hydro dam that caused water to rise rapidly, the sirens would be used to quickly and safely alert people who are downstream of the dam to move to higher ground. In the event of a dam failure, the sequence would be:

  1. Whoop tone for 10 seconds.
  2. “Attention!” an upstream dam has failed. Remain calm and seek higher ground immediately. Expect rapidly rising waters. Please evacuate to a safe area immediately!” (repeat three times with five-second delay between messages).
  3. Whoop tone for 60 seconds
  4. Repeat for 30 minute or until warning is cancelled.

Because the Namekagon River is part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway managed by the National Park Service, Xcel Energy worked closely with the Park Service during the installation of the warning sirens and coordination of the testing schedule. All questions related to the dam failure warning siren should be directed to Xcel Energy’s 24-hour Customer Contact Center at 1-800-895-4999.

Xcel Energy operates 19 hydroelectric plants in Wisconsin on eight rivers with a total generating capacity of about 270 megawatts. In addition to the warning sirens on the Namekagon River, Xcel Energy has nine warning sirens along the lower Chippewa River from Holcombe Flowage downstream to the City of Eau Claire; two along the lower Red Cedar River near Menomonie; one below the Apple River Hydro near Somerset; and two below the Winter Dam. Visit www.xcelenergy.com for more information.


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