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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The city is apologizing after human error causes a scare in Dallas. Wednesday morning all of the outdoor warning sirens sounded off for no reason.

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More than 150 sirens went off. In every corner of the city, the sirens began blared shortly after 8 a.m.

Residents responded to the alarms differently. Steve Kincheloe told CBS 11 News, “I looked out my window to see if there were any storms coming and I really couldn’t discern. It didn’t look like one and so I kind of dismissed it.”

James Greer was on Central Expressway and he was very concerned. “Because everybody was kind of like me. You could see their heads looking around to see if they needed to pull off the road, but nothing was coming.”

The sirens are designed to alert people about dangerous weather.

Greer says, because of the timing of the sirens, he thought terrorism. “I mean we get all these threats all the time that they’re going to come in and do this and that to us. What better place to hit than the Big D, like Dallas or something like that. So, it is scary. Yeah, it was scary.”

The sirens are usually tested and sounded the first Wednesday of every month at noon. City officials say an employee was checking the system in preparation for that test.

Rocky Vaz, the director of emergency management at City of Dallas, explained how the problems began. “We were seeing some sirens on the screen that were not polling, that means they were not talking back to our server.”

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Rather than simply evaluating those questionable sirens, the employee mistakenly activated the test — citywide.

The city calls it an accident caused by human error and has contacted the software vendor for the system. Officials want to change processes, so that a password is required to activate the sirens.

The city is also reducing the number of people who can operate the system while those changes are being made.

As for the employee who made the mistake, no disciplinary action is being taken. He is a longtime employee and city officials again reiterated the activation was an accident.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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