Emergency Alert System could be in works for Lufkin

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A year ago city leaders began putting together a Capital Improvement Program.  One of the projects was an emergency alert system that would warm citizens of impending dangers.

"[The program] covers everything from bridges, streets, draining, parks and part of that process identified an emergency siren system or emergency alert system," described Paul Parker, Lufkin City Manager.

The alert system would only be apart of the C.I.P. if the city council approved both the program and the project, plus, the funds to pay for it.  And it comes with a hefty price tag.

"The design that we're looking at is about a 375,000 dollars project," said Parker.

However, the system would alert for more than extreme weather, but also other dangers that could face the community.

"The main thing would be chemical spills with the railroad tracks and 59 and 69 all meeting in Lufkin," explained Parker.

Before last week's tornado, interest in the project becoming a part of the C.I.P. was lacking, but now the tide may be turning.

"The tornado problem has emphasized that there is possible need for this city to have this type of system in the city," said Parker.

There are disagreements to the question of whether an emergency alert system would have made a difference in last week's tornado.

"In the last event those sirens probably wouldn't have helped us because we got the warning about 5 minutes after the tornado was on the ground," said Parker.

"The problem was without the sirens and with Christmas holiday people not paying attention it snuck right up on top of people," said Hlozek.

The city of Nacogdoches started installing emergency sirens in 2003.  There nine stations strategically placed across the city.  The alarms are sounds in severe weather events, train derailments or other emergencies that could affect citizens.

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