Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 2014

40 years ago: County discusses recent accidental sounding of tornado sirens

January 7, 2014


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 7, 1974:

  • The Douglas County Commission was scheduled to meet this afternoon with H. H. Belote, county civil defense director, to discuss a recent occurrence in which the county disaster siren warning system had been accidentally set off. The sirens had sounded Saturday night at 8 p.m. when a dispatcher at the sheriff's office had inadvertently pushed the siren button, Belote said. The dispatcher, Roger Carter, had said immediately afterward that he didn't know what had set the sirens off but that perhaps an amateur radio operator had accidentally found the frequency that operated the sirens. Belote said the dispatcher had called him and asked what had happened, and Belote had instructed him to push the siren cancel button. County officials were looking into the system to see if there was a way to prevent further accidents. Belote noted that the system was not accident-proof and that there were ways it could be activated without pushing the button, such as a squirrel setting it off, or lightning. "There is no way to make it foolproof as far as accidents go," Belote said. The sirens were supposed to be activated by a special transmitter located at Kansas University, controlled from the sheriff's office. A special tone was broadcast over the transmitter to radio receivers at each siren. Ken Seals, past president of the Douglas County Amateur Radio Club, said there was virtually no way a "ham" operator could accidentally set off the sirens.
  • Today was the first working day under the new national Daylight Saving Time schedule that had gone into effect on Sunday. Most local residents went to work or school in the dark this morning, a slightly uncomfortable situation which was to continue for some time.


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