To the editor:
I have to agree, in part, with Mr. Lappe’s assessment (April 29) of the weather alert system in this area. As the amateur radio emergency coordinator for five counties in Central Texas, I firmly believe in having a viable, working warning system when the threat of severe weather is present.
Does this alert system only function for Brownwood city residents? Or can Early and other communities participate? And, why should any citizen have to “register” for any kind of public warning system?
I have nothing against the new technology, as long as it works. I do believe it was a mistake to drop the civil defense sirens. Much larger communities like Fort Worth are still using CD sirens very successfully. If the ones we use here are not loud enough, we need more of them and bigger ones. If they are going off for no reason, the reason needs to be found and repaired. I’d rather see my tax dollars (or Homeland Security grant money) go to a system that I know will warn people regardless of whether they are near a phone or not, and convey the simple thought of “take cover — now.”
Cable television warning systems are also relatively useless since cable frequently goes out in a storm, and telephone lines and systems the same. Among the items that citizens are told by FEMA to pack in emergency kits is a battery operated radio with extra batteries. Well, that will do you no good if your local radio stations (especially the “news” stations) aren’t breaking in to regular programming with the vital information so you can find out what you’re taking cover from. FEMA does not say to pack a telephone in your 72-hour kit.
Matthew R. Hinman
District Emergency Coordinator
A.R.E.S. District 3 North Texas