Residents concerned about CAER emergency sirens being out of commission

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Many residents in Calcasieu Parish expect to hear a siren outside if there’s a need for a shelter in place due to a chemical incident.

There were no CAER (Community Awareness and Emergency Response) sirens Saturday when there was a fire at Sasol. Some residents want to know why.

Christopher Porcellini, who lives near Sasol, is concerned.

“They’re needed. That lets you know that it’s an actual emergency,” he said.

They worry what would have happened if it had been a major chemical release and they received no warning

“We could be in that house and we’ve got air conditioners on, and that air conditioner draws all them fumes and that could kill us off,” Buddy Glover said.

It turns out, Hurricane Laura took out almost all of the CAER warning sirens. Calcasieu Parish had a dozen.

Calcasieu Emergency Operations Manager, Jared Maze said they hope to install new and improved sirens next year.

“FEMA regulations want a higher storm rating than the wooden posts. It looks like we’re going with a metal post in a concrete base, so the determination was made that we have to do that to get FEMA reimbursement,” he said.

The City of Lake Charles had fifteen sirens and a spokesperson said they are trying to get parts for them. No word whether any of them work.

The City of Westlake had three sirens. There’s no official word on their status.

Meanwhile, Maze said the Calca Shout ring down system sent alerts to seven hundred residents in the area of Myrtle Springs and Houston River Road.

“We can do ring down, with either text phone or email. And he says there’s a state system they can utilize if needed. Still, the two residents we spoke with say they received no call,” Maze said.

Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay said they have a call down system to alert citizens by phone, text or email or all of those simultaneously. Plus, he said they post to social media.

Iowa has one CAER siren and Vinton has two. Officials in Vinton said their sirens still work.