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City disables tornado alarm after residents say it's noisy

Friday, April 26th 2019, 1:05 pm - They may be noisy, but officials say public alerts are important.

Alabama officials in Colbert County turned off a five-alarm tornado siren after residents complained about the noise it made, WHNT news reports.

A resident reached out to WHNT after a tornado touched down in the area, asking why the siren wasn't triggered.

WHNT contacted Colbert County EMA director Mike Melton, who said the siren was turned off four years ago during its testing phase.

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He cited complaints from six residents as the reason.

“It was asked to be moved,” Melton told the outlet.

“Did we ask if the entire neighborhood was advised of what was happening, I did not. But what we tried to do is appease some people.”

The siren's sole purpose is to warn residents of oncoming severe weather, but WHNT says it has laid dormant. Officials have been unable to move it because the siren was purchased and designed for a specific location.

Melton says he is willing to meet with residents to come up with a permanent solution.

CANADA'S ALERT READY HAS RECEIVED NOISE COMPLAINTS, TOO

The complaints echo a problem Canadian emergency responders have had to contend with in recent months.

Alert Ready is a national public alerting system operated by The Weather Network's parent company, Pelmorex Media.

In April 2018, all Canadian wireless providers were required to participate in the program.

Alert Ready broadcasts the presence of potentially-life threatening situations on TV, the radio and through cell phone alerts.

Alerts can be triggered by man-made or weather-related disasters. Amber alerts are included as well.

There have been several reports of residents flooding police departments with complaints when alerts have been issued.

PUBLIC ALERTING SAVES LIVES

While some residents have complained that the noise public alerts make is disruptive, officials say the warnings are important and effective.

In September, an Ottawa family credited Alert Ready with saving their lives by warning them of a destructive tornado, minutes before it struck their home.

An Alert Ready test message will be sent out to Canadian mobile phones May 8. Times will vary by province.

VIDEO: HERE'S HOW ALERT READY WORKS

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