Aug 03

How we handle weather emergencies - sirens

Posted on August 3, 2021 at 9:09 PM by Jessica VanderKolk

This Saturday, you will hear the monthly emergency siren test across Calhoun County. You might also remember that severe weather placed the county under a tornado warning on Saturday, June 26.

We received many questions, and 911 received calls, about why our neighbors in Battle Creek did not hear the emergency sirens activate during that June 26 warning.

Emergency siren on a pole, with blue sky background

Our Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority activates the sirens when the weather turns bad; they are in continuous contact with the National Weather Service. Since 2013, Dispatch has used an activation plan by sector – the county is divided into northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast sectors.

Dispatch activates sirens by sector, based on the location of an identified tornado, along with the travel and speed – provided by the NWS.

This means that, when all of Calhoun County is under a tornado warning, NOT all of the county’s sirens will sound. Dispatch activates the sirens in the sector where the severe weather is happening. We can do this because of how much technology and equipment have improved.

For example – if officials located a tornado in the City of Albion, tracking east, Dispatch would activate the sirens only in the NE and SE sectors. To activate the others would cause unnecessary panic in places like Battle Creek and Bedford Township, 25 miles in the opposite direction.

When the sirens sound, the audience is anyone who would hear them – especially if you are outside or in a vehicle. You might hear them from inside your hours, but not necessarily.

Please note, when the NWS issues a tornado warning, they urge those under the warning to take cover. This means moving to a basement, or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outside, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest, most sturdy shelter you can. You’ll want to protect yourself from possible flying debris in high winds.

We support that message during a tornado warning, even if you do not hear the sirens in the City of Battle Creek. The weather can change quickly, and we want neighbors to be prepared, and stay safe during stormy weather.

Please do not call 911 if you do not hear a local siren during a storm and/or warning. Calling could overwhelm the system, and impact those experiencing an emergency. There are many notification devices, apps, and news outlets to help you follow the weather.

Again, we test the sirens every monthly – you should hear them sound at 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month. This helps us make sure the sirens are all working properly, and gives us a chance to fix any problems. There was one siren that malfunctioned during the June 5 test, and it worked properly again before the recent severe weather.

Some of this information, and more, is available on the CCCDA website. For the siren information, under Information, visit Siren Map. 

Calhoun County emergency siren location list

Calhoun County emergency siren sector map

Jul 01

July 4 + Fireworks

Posted on July 1, 2021 at 8:30 AM by Jessica VanderKolk



Please check out our video about fireworks laws and tips in Battle Creek.

Before we continue, a note about our office and service closures this weekend - 
  • City offices are closed on Monday, July 5, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.
  • Battle Creek Transit services will not run Saturday, July 3 through Monday, July 5. Regular schedules resume on Tuesday, July 6.
  • Full Blast Recreation Center is closed on Sunday, July 4. Flash Flood Water Park will be open 12-4 p.m. that day (shortened hours, due to a lifeguard shortage). Recreation facilities are open regular hours on Monday, July 5.
  • Republic is closed on Monday, July 5 for the holiday, so everyone will have a one-day delay in your curbside waste pickup. 
Back to fireworks. Our local ordinance changed after the state law changed in 2018, and the information in the video above reflects that.

We know many of you will celebrate this weekend, and enjoy the Field of Flight our at the city's Battle Creek Executive Airport. Please enjoy safely, and check out the two fireworks shows scheduled at the airport.


If you choose to display consumer fireworks in your neighborhood, please be kind to your neighbors, their sleeping children, scared pets, and veterans. These are community members who can feel the negative impact of fireworks.


Follow the days and times allowed for home fireworks, and follow safety precautions - like keeping a water bucket or hose nearby, lighting fireworks away from yourself and others, and taking special care with children. Sparklers can be a lot of fun, but they burn hot.


We know police enforcement is a big issue here. Fireworks complaints are important. The truth is, there may be more urgent calls our officers must respond to, and if they are able to get to the fireworks scene, the show might be over. But, you can take photos or videos, and send them to police via the
 online reporting portal. Police can still pursue the matter after the fact, if you share the information.

Enjoy your celebrations this weekend! Celebrate America! Please do so safely, and let's all take care of our community.

Mar 26

Republic / Waste Management updates

Posted on March 26, 2021 at 3:05 PM by Jessica VanderKolk

Dear neighbors,

We have a huge transition coming next week – no fooling. On April 1 we switch to Republic Services for our curbside garbage, recycling, and yard waste service. We had a contract with Waste Management for many years. We know this is a big change for all of us!

We have some updates to share, based on questions you have asked. We appreciate those. We hope these answers help you.

Republic Services logo with blue background

Republic

  • Some of you have watched neighbors receive new recycling carts, or rental garbage/yard waste carts, and you did not. We found our recycling database was not complete. We missed getting 500 of you into that database. If you signed up before Feb. 26, you can expect your carts by the end of next week. Republic will deliver from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. this Sunday, too. We are sorry for this mistake.

  • If you signed up for Republic carts after Feb. 26, expect those in mid-April. You still have garbage service in the meantime. You can place bags of garbage at the curb. We recommend doing that by 6 a.m. on your service day, so they sit out for less time before pick-up.

  • We hand-delivered door hangers to about 2,000 of you whose pick-up day will change. If you want to double-check, our interactive map is updated with Republic days and routes. See it by clicking here. You can also access it at battlecreekmi.gov/recycling.

  • If you rent carts from Republic, you can expect the bills by mail after April 15. The bill is for the year, April 1 to March 31.

  • Once we reach April 1, call Republic for missed pick-ups and other needs at 888-249-5112. We know when you call this number now, you might receive a frustrating or inaccurate answer. Republic will not have our account active with customer service until April 1. We know this is frustrating, but we are working with it the best we can.

Waste Management

  • We have heard from multiple neighbors that the cart collection vendor has dumped trash from the carts without picking it up. We are checking into this. Thanks for telling us.

  • We know some of you have received new bills that are confusing. Waste Management told us they generated those bills when you paid past-due balances. This is why they reference resuming service. Please contact WM directly to handle these, at 866-797-9018.

Thank you for your continued patience during this transition. Please know we are working hard to answer your questions, and make this move as smooth as possible.

Have a great weekend,

Your city team