DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas is now promising it will notify neighbors before placing an emergency warning siren near their homes — a change in policy following a family’s complaints this week.
Angela and Jorge Gonzalez say they spent money redesigning their front yard, never guessing they’d one day find a 40-foot siren hovering overhead.
“It just caught us by surprise. One day – ‘boop,’” said Jorge.
“No one gave us any notification. We knew nothing. I just pulled up and there it was – the centerpiece of my front yard,” said Angela.
The siren appeared on Tuesday just outside their fence line. It’s one of six the city is currently adding to fill in gaps where residents in the past may not have been able to hear a siren during an emergency.
The Gonzalez family, though, worries not just about it being an eyesore, but about how close it is to their daughter’s bedroom.
“It’s going to be real loud for sure,” said Angela, looking at it from her daughter’s window.
At 90 to 130 decibels, the CDC estimates the sound of a siren up close can cause hearing loss within as little as two minutes.
“We want it moved,” said Angela.
With a plot of city land for a fire station next door extending all the way to the end of the block, the family believes the city should be able to relocate the siren closer to the street, giving them a little distance from it.
“This is just the absolute worst place it could be,” said Angela.
The city isn’t making any promises, but told CBS 11 it is considering the request.
“If there is a need and there is a way to move it while still meeting our public safety notification criteria, we’d be happy to do that,” said Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz, adding that the cost would likely be far less than the $30,000 spent to initially purchase and place the siren.
Vaz says the city has 159 emergency warning sirens, the largest network of any city in the United States and has never before received a complaint about their placement.
With another three being added soon and hopes for another fourteen in the near future, the city plans to create a new notification process, as a result of this incident.
“There will be a change in protocol. Moving forward, installing new sirens, that notifications will be sent out,” said Vaz.