Storm sirens sound off

By Maira Ansari - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One week after twisters tore through parts of Kentuckiana, tornado sirens sounded across the Commonwealth for a statewide drill. Tornado sirens failed to go off last Monday when the storms rolled through. The alarms on Tuesday were a sign the metro is prepared for the next round.

MetroSafe Executive Director Doug Hamilton admitted today that he was anxious for what may have been the most watched siren test in Louisville history. The siren's went off at 10:07 a.m. without any problems on Tuesday.

"It functioned as designed and it did what we wanted," said Hamilton. "I'd say for today's test, it's an "A".

An "A", after they admittedly got an "F' last week.

"Obviously we completely dropped the ball last week," said Hamilton.

Last Monday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning around 4:31 a.m. while tracking an EF 1 twister moving from Clark County, Indiana to Jefferson County, KY. Sirens didn't go off. MetroSafe says encoders failed to pick up the warning to trigger the alarms and two supervisors didn't manually sound them.

"Obviously we expect technology to tell us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it," said Hamilton. "Certainly, they are tremendous job aides but, can't replace people who can see hear, understand what is going on or should do that."

Since then, MetroSafe reinstalled new decoders, weather radios and scanners. Hamilton says what happened last week has been a huge learning lesson.

"The very nature of our business is mistakes are inevitable but, they are not acceptable," said Hamilton. "I think what we've done today is that we tried to ensure that doesn't occur again and is a good example of that."

Hamilton says disciplinary action is still being considered against MetroSafe employees involved in last week's failure.

Hamilton says all of the sirens worked on Tuesday, they only had one that needed a back-up battery replaced.

Many viewers sounded off on the WAVE 3 Facebook page that they didn't hear the sirens. Keep in mind the sirens are only meant to be heard outside.

Hamilton urges everyone to get a weather radio to receive warnings.

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