City Council revisits idea of a siren system in Lubbock

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Updated: 5/29/2013 10:08 pm
It's been more than 30 years since a siren system has been a part of our city's warning plan, but recent events in Oklahoma have some City Council members revisiting the idea.

"We're in the midst of a tornado season," Councilman Todd Klein said. "It's been active. We've had the issue, sadly, the tragedy in Oklahoma City just outside Moore, Oklahoma. I think that's focused a lot of attention. "

"I'm from San Angelo, we have tornado sirens and have my whole life, and they are awesome," Resident Lacey Nobles said. "You know to take cover when you hear them."

"Everyone would be able to hear a siren," Resident Jim Devlin said. "Older people, younger people. I know we're into the high tech, but not everyone has the iPhones and such, so I think sirens are the way to go."

Klein said the council will have to look at how many sirens it would take to cover the city, and how much it would cost. 

"Let's find out exactly the number. Let's discuss it with the public. In a budget as large as ours, I think we can absorb that kind of cost," Klein said. "I think if it provides additional value, it adds to the multi-layered response alert system that we already have. Additional redundancy, I think that could add additional value, I also think it could add a little more comfort."

"I'm still not convinced that sirens are the right answer, but I'm also not convinced that they may not be a part of the solution."

Mayor Glen Robertson said he wants to explore all options to make sure the bases are covered in a worst-case scenario. 

"All of these systems that are available, every one of them will fail at some point," Robertson said. "Cell towers can be knocked down. The power goes out, and we lose the ability to pull up the TV stations or the radio stations. The weather radios can malfunction. There's no one solution that fits everybody, so I think we need to look at all the options."

Robertson said he hopes to have all the information back within three or four weeks, so the council can discuss the idea during a regular meeting. 

Warning sirens are one of the many topics Klein plans to discuss with citizens at comment session on Saturday. 

The meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. At United Market Street at 19th and Quaker Avenue. Other topics of discussion include installing sound meters on police cruisers, and the prospects for a bond election. Residents city wide are invited to attend. 
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