Longview Residents Angry Over Emergency Sirens Failure Response - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/20/08- Longview

Longview Residents Angry Over Emergency Sirens Failure Response

The city of Longview has spent $250,000 on its emergency sirens that are supposed to help keep you safe. But when it was time for action, they didn't work.   

"The emergency computer system was locked up. It didn't function so, the operator rebooted the software and it still didn't function. As the computer was cycling through the software it came back online and immediately set off the sirens with eleven minutes delay," said Sally Rees, Public Safety Communications Manger.

For some residents it was a delay. Residents that live near the E. Hawkins Parkway emergency siren by Longview High school say they didn't get a warning at all. "My daughter called and said, "Mom the sirens are going off." I listened and I couldn't here anything. It's kind of scary because the one time that you need it, it's not working," said Longview homeowner, Susan Clark. "It would have been very costly if there were lives lost because the sirens failed," said Patricia Parks, a Longview resident.

With several failed emergency siren responses in the past, the question comes up, did the city drop the ball and what are they doing to correct it?

"We're asking for a manual way from our computer's maufacturing company. That if the computer's off or software is not functioning we would be able to set it off ourselves," said Rees. "I don't think there is a dropped ball. I think we're aware that the system needs maintenance and we're doing to continue to improve the system and do the best we can to insure that it's functioning when needed," said Chuck Ewings, Assistant City Manager.

East Texas residents say they'll believe the sirens will work when they hear it.

 "The computer failed is the same as the check is in the mail," said Parks. 

The city says they are going to try to cut down on computer failures by rebooting their system once a week. They say there are other ways people can be informed about weather emergencies, by tuning into television and radio.

LaKecia Shockley, Reporting lshockley@kltv.com.

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