BASF alarm system malfunctions

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Officials at the BASF chemical plant on Wilroy Road say they are adjusting their new alarm system after it disturbed neighbors on recent nights.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue crews responded to the facility in the 2300 block of Wilroy Road twice within an hour and 10 minutes late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

Several nearby residents contacted the Suffolk News-Herald about hearing the alarms.

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According to a statement sent by Lori Wilson, materials management manager at the plant, the site’s new emergency notification system malfunctioned on two occasions. The onsite emergency response team investigated and determined there was no actual emergency, the statement said.

The system is meant to notify onsite employees, contractors and visitors of potential emergency conditions, the statement said. It includes tones and pre-recorded messages featuring a female voice giving instructions — for example, “shelter in place” or “please stand by,” Wilson said.

The alarm company has been on site helping optimize the new system, Wilson said, so neighbors who are at home during the day may hear additional alarms for the next few days as they try to optimize the system. Wilson said the alarms may be set off intentionally while employees drive to nearby neighborhoods to see if they can hear it, and the volume will be adjusted accordingly.

“BASF sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the statement reads.