Tornado sirens activated by mistakeFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Tornado sirens that sent some into panic mode turned out to be a fluke. If you live in the F-M metro area, you may have taken cover around 9:30 last night. It was unnecessary, but you weren't alone.
At least seventeen sirens can be activated right from a dispatcher's desk with just the touch of a button. Dispatchers signal different cities to take cover when there is a tornado warning issued or if there is a funnel cloud spotted by a trained observer.
What happened last night is a dispatcher mistakenly read a tornado watch for Fargo-Moorhead as a warning, and so following protocol she activated sirens in those cities as well as Dilworth, Horace and West Fargo.
Mary Phillippi/Red River Regional Dispatch Center Asst. Director: “It was a mistake and the dispatcher felt terrible about it. She realized what she had done and we're really sorry that happened.”
Phillipe says this has never happened when there's actual storm activity going on. She says they'll review their checks and balances to help prevent this from happening again. Emergency officials can also request activation of sirens to alert the public of a hazardous materials or other life-threatening incident.