Councilmembers for the City of Dallas will discuss buying and installing more outdoor sirens next week after officials conducted a study of their warning system and found gaps in coverage across the city.
Right now, Dallas has 156 outdoor warning sirens that are utilized heavily during Tornado threats.
Many of the sirens are old, which contributed to them being hacked via a radio signal in April of 2017.
Better encryption controls have been outfitted since then.
At the end of 2016, a sound study with all the sirens was conducted. According to that study, 27 areas of inadequate coverage were discovered.
Of those 27 areas, the most critical spots were found in 6 Dallas neighborhoods.
Those 6 locations are on a map above. They include areas in the Mountain Creek, Russwood Acres, Hollywood/Canta, Highland Hills, Cedar Crest, and S. Oak Cliff neighborhoods.
City documents say that hundreds of people in those areas are not able to clearly hear or discern warnings.
Each of Dallas' sirens must blare a warning that is 70 decibels or higher. Sound tests found that warnings emitted from sirens were heard below those levels in all 27 areas.
Councilman Philip Kingston says that the city has known about coverage gaps for years, and is finally addressing the issue.
“It's a real failure of our city government,” Kingston said. “Every single Dallas resident deserves to have adequate warning of emergency events.”
Many spots with coverage gaps are in low-income areas too, making the need for better coverage a priority.
“The holes that you see are primarily in areas where it may be less likely that the residents have smartphones or other ways of getting emergency notifications,” Kingston said.
Next week, councilmembers will discuss purchasing 6 new sirens right away with grant funds for those neighborhoods in need.
They are expected to vote on spending just about half a million dollars to buy and install 14 more sirens if city funds are available.
The city says the last time sirens were added to the overall system was in 2012, and it was only 2.