Fire and EMS were notified of tornado warning, but still no sirens

Doug Hamilton
Doug Hamilton
Mayor Greg Fischer
Mayor Greg Fischer
Councilmen James Peden (foreground) & David James
Councilmen James Peden (foreground) & David James

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Elected officials are echoing WAVE 3's questions to the man ultimately responsible for why the sirens were silent in Jefferson County during Monday's tornado warning. It has become such a big deal that Metro Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Doug Hamilton appeared with Mayor Greg Fischer and before a Metro Council Committee.

"Obviously this is something everybody in the city takes very seriously," said Fischer.

Chris Poynter, a spokesperson for the Mayor, says Hamilton's job is not on the line, but Hamilton says others could face disciplinary action.

"It's always a possibility," said Hamilton. "Something like that, whenever you may suspect or have reasonable grounds to believe misconduct. Sometimes things are done out of ignorance, sometimes they're done out of stupidity."

Hamilton says they will be signing-up all supervisors with a metro cell phone to get e-mail alerts, adding a scanner for the national weather service to go inside MetroSafe, and hopefully add flashing alert lights inside MetroSafe.

The chair of Metro Public Safety Committee is also an assistant fire chief in Highview. James Peden asked how he was alerted as firefighter by MetroSafe of the tornado warning, but MetroSafe never sounded the sirens.

"It doesn't matter that you have a whole bank of televisions and every one of them is telling you you have a tornado warning because you didn't get anything from the national weather service?" asked Peden.

MetroSafe dispatchers notified EMS with a voice call over the radio and Fire over with a pager without the National Weather Service confirming the tornado warning.

"We continued to question whether there was or not, and delayed initiating the siren protocol, which caused us to miss the opportunity to do it," said Hamilton.

Hamilton says the supervisors did not sound the sirens because they never got the radio signal for the National Weather Service. When Hamilton called to ask why they weren't sound, they checked with the National Weather Service. Once they confirmed the warning, Hamilton says it was canceled.

The mayor requested a full report with timelines to his office by the end of the week.

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