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New Nashville siren system has latest malfunction

tornado sirens
Posted at 10:54 PM, Mar 30, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new, more advanced, more precise tornado siren system has been hard at work in Nashville since last year. It's designed to limit false alarms and only warn people who are in immediate danger.

But ever since the city unveiled the new siren system, it’s been fraught with malfunctions, including one just last week during active tornado warnings.

The Nashville Office of Emergency Management says it’s fixed the problems that kept nearly two dozen sirens from immediately activating during tornado warnings Thursday.

But last week’s malfunction wasn’t the first since Nashville implemented their new siren system last year.

Last Thursday it was 18 sirens that didn’t activate due to interruptions in the transmission that tells the sirens to turn on. OEM says The interruptions were caused by the severe weather itself.

Last December, OEM says all tornado sirens failed to activate during a planned test, because of a data router error.

And last August, OEM says a software malfunction caused at least three sirens to keep blaring long after the tornado warning had ended.

"They should have confidence in the system, but it is a new system," said District Chief Jay Servais with the Office of Emergency Management. "We are troubleshooting if there’s something that happens, we get on it the next day because our mission is the safety of the citizens of Nashville, Tennessee and we take that very seriously and it’s what I do every day."

OEM says the upgrades to the siren system that Nashville’s citizens ask for have made the system one of the most advanced in the country, leading to some problems that they e had to sort out. They say the siren issues highlight the importance of having more than one way to be alerted of severe weather alerts.