City of Lufkin boasts on digital sirens - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

City of Lufkin boasts on digital sirens

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Tornadoes are sweeping the nation and there's not one tornado siren in the City of Lufkin.

But the use of technology is keeping the city storm ready.

Memories of the Dec. 2009 tornado are still a vivid memory in Sheila Jackson's mind.

"It was devastating," Jackson said. "The house sounded like it was a locomotive coming in and the house was shifted off its foundation."

The powerful tornado touched down and many Lufkin residents had no warning, because the city didn't have a storm alert system in place.

"We needed the capability of warning our citizens of any coming activity that may exist," said Deputy City Manager Keith Wright.

Right now the devastation in Oklahoma has claimed six lives. During the storms, some tornado sirens malfunctioned and residents did not have any warning.

The city says they still do not have a tornado siren.

But they feel the system they do have -- an Internet based multi-media alert system -- will save lives come an emergency.

<Keith Wright, Deputy City Manager> "I think it's much more effective," Wright said. "Number one, when an alarm goes off you don't know what's going on. This lets me give you worded information."

Residents can sign up for alerts at alertlufkin.com.

The alerts are intended for all types of emergencies --not just severe weather. Residents can receive emails, texts and calls, all catered to the individual.

"Where your grandmother lives, where your kids go to school, if anything happens in one of those addresses or if it's included in the alert area you will be contacted," Wright said.

Alerts are sent out at the first sign of any major weather event.

Jackson feels after her experience, phone calls or text messages might slip through the cracks.

"An alarm system would really help and educate people on how the system is going to sound and how loud it may be," Jackson said.

But Wright is confident their more advanced alert system is the best.

"We can contact the entire city in less than five minutes," Wright said.

Giving city officials and some residents strong security in case of an emergency.

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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