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General => General Chat => Topic started by: Homer J Simpson on April 09, 2017, 12:55:25 am

Title: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Homer J Simpson on April 09, 2017, 12:55:25 am

At midnight no less.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/08/us/dallas-alarm-hack/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/08/us/dallas-alarm-hack/index.html)

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: blueskull on April 09, 2017, 01:07:43 am
Some guy just had too much time and wanted to do some time.
Made me think stupid things I did when I was a kid. Me and a few friends bet who has the guts to call 110 (Chinese 911) using public telephone.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: tautech on April 09, 2017, 01:11:14 am
Some guy just had too much time and wanted to do some time.
Made me think stupid things I did when I was a kid. Me and a few friends bet who has the guts to call 110 (Chinese 911) using public telephone.
This is the closest I can find for dealing with naughty kids.   ;)

 :horse:
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: xmo on April 09, 2017, 02:03:30 am
I have no knowledge of the system in Dallas, but in many cities the sirens are activated by a radio transmission similar to the way a pager is alerted.

It would be fairly simple for a radio knowledgeable person to record the signal when the sirens are activated by the system, then replay the signal at a later date .

Such a "hack" would be virtually impossible to trace retroactively.  It's the sort of thing a person could get away with...once.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Cerebus on April 09, 2017, 02:04:12 am
Quote
All 156 emergency sirens were activated around 11:40 p.m. ...

The Office of Emergency Management was able to turn off all the sirens by 1:20 a.m. ...

Not very good at "Emergency Management" if it took them the best part of 2 hours; not much sense of urgency in that response at all.

Quote
Rocky Vaz, director of the Dallas Office of Emergency Management, said authorities had to turn off the city's entire emergency system to stop the sirens.

So as well as poor security we also have poor resilience. Killing off the "entire emergency system" to stop the sirens implies that they had to knock out other parts of the emergency systems too. I hope they learn some lessons from this but I suspect that the response will be more about bluster and punishing someone, as it usually is.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: james_s on April 09, 2017, 05:00:29 am
While I'm sure it was annoying for those who live in the area I'll admit it made me chuckle. Sounds like something I would have done when I was a teenager if I'd had the means. We don't have any sort of warning sirens out here though.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: blueskull on April 09, 2017, 05:11:30 am
While I'm sure it was annoying for those who live in the area I'll admit it made me chuckle. Sounds like something I would have done when I was a teenager if I'd had the means. We don't have any sort of warning sirens out here though.

Not sure about other places, but my university has emergency broadcasting system (blue lights), and they test that system every month at a random time.
Thank god I don't live on campus anymore. When I was living on campus, they do fire alarm drills as well, and sometimes it means they will set the alarm at any moment, sometimes even in the early morning.
To a night owl like me, it definitely sucks. Not only fire drills, sometimes an idiot smoking in his dorm can also trigger the alarm, and evacuating a massive L-shape building.
I wonder how cops and firefighters think -- they come to the same building every so and often, only to find fake alarms 100% of the time.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: MarkS on April 09, 2017, 07:08:46 am
This isn't funny and is no prank. Whoever did this needs to be caught and punished. This area is known for high tornado risks. These sirens are the only way to communicate the danger to the entire population and it must both work flawlessly and be trusted.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: hendorog on April 09, 2017, 08:41:16 am
Turned out to be quite a good test in the end - they now know they have zero ability to control the sirens at short notice in an emergency situation.

Knowing that they can remedy it, and if there are a couple of brain cells spare perhaps review the system for other shortcomings.
Somewhere, someone will be muttering 'I told them this would happen and they didn't listen'

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: nctnico on April 09, 2017, 09:34:26 am
Turned out to be quite a good test in the end - they now know they have zero ability to control the sirens at short notice in an emergency situation.

Knowing that they can remedy it, and if there are a couple of brain cells spare perhaps review the system for other shortcomings.
Somewhere, someone will be muttering 'I told them this would happen and they didn't listen'
Those are exactly my thoughts. Pranks like these reveal problems which can be catastrophic in different circumstances. I hope it has been a good wakeup call for the people responsible for the system.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: MarkS on April 09, 2017, 09:39:31 am
I don't know how it works in Dallas, but here in Oklahoma City, they test the sirens every Saturday at noon. This wasn't a test and it wasn't necessary. Sure, it exposed a security vulnerability, but at what cost? The population MUST trust this system. They have to be confident that if the sirens are going off, either the system is under test or there is a legitimate emergency. This event undermines that.

I am curious if this has anything to do with T-Mobile's continual issues with Dallas' 911 system? Neither the city, nor T-Mobile can figure out why this is happening. Possibly a multi-stage attack on Dallas' emergency management systems? But to what end?

https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/16/t-mobile-ghost-calls-to-911-linked-to-two-deaths-in-dallas/ (https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/16/t-mobile-ghost-calls-to-911-linked-to-two-deaths-in-dallas/)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: donotdespisethesnake on April 09, 2017, 09:52:28 am
All the reports are blaming hackers, but there is no evidence that it was due to hackers and not a malfunction. I'm not saying it wasn't, but the assumption by the authorities seems to be "it wasn't any of us, so it must have been a hacker".

Quote
The late night sounding of emergency warning sirens in the city of Dallas, Texas, was due to a hacker being able to access and repeatedly activate the system, Dallas city officials say.

The sirens were first heard at about 11:45 p.m., and sounded on and off intermittently across the city.

"All 156 sirens in the city were activated last night," Dallas public information officer Sana Syed said. "It does appear at this time that it was a hack. We do believe that it was from the Dallas area."

Someone was able to gain access to the system and activate the sirens, city officials said.

Another lesson to learn, 911 was jammed because thousands of people rang up to ask "are we being attacked?" because of concerns about "what is going on overseas".
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: MarkS on April 09, 2017, 09:59:58 am
Another lesson to learn, 911 was jammed because thousands of people rang up to ask "are we being attacked?" because of concerns about "what is going on overseas".

The 911 issues I was mentioning are different. For reasons that no one can figure out, when a Dallas area T-Mobile customer dials 911, multiple calls are placed simultaneously and then hang up. 911 dispatchers are required to call back any hang ups to determine if there is an actual emergency. This results in dispatchers spending inordinate amounts of time calling back a person multiple times, even though they may still be on the phone with another dispatcher. This is breaking the system and people have died.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: hendorog on April 09, 2017, 10:02:55 am
I don't know how it works in Dallas, but here in Oklahoma City, they test the sirens every Saturday at noon. This wasn't a test and it wasn't necessary.

Of course you are correct, but when emotion is removed there is a learning in just about anything.



Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: MarkS on April 09, 2017, 10:05:07 am
Of course you are correct, but when emotion is removed there is a learning in just about anything.

I agree. These systems should be secure. It is just that we shouldn't be learning about any vulnerabilities after deployment. Once in the field, they have to work.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: RoGeorge on April 09, 2017, 10:14:56 am
Huh?! So US cities have hundreds of sirens, like in the WWII? Strange.

Can somebody from US tell what is the normal usage for those sirens, and what are people suppose to do when they hear them, please?
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: hendorog on April 09, 2017, 10:20:19 am
Of course you are correct, but when emotion is removed there is a learning in just about anything.

I agree. These systems should be secure. It is just that we shouldn't be learning about any vulnerabilities after deployment. Once in the field, they have to work.

Unfortunately with the tech we have today secure with no vulnerabilities (meaning perfectly secure) is not practical - and perhaps possible only with extreme effort. Certainly not cheap anyway.

The question however was not if it was perfectly secure, instead was it even slightly secure. Reading between the lines it sounds like the internet facing part was reasonably secure but the RF interface was relying on security through obscurity.

The fact they couldn't turn it off was interesting. Either the triggering signal was still present and so it kept on firing up, or it really was hacked or it was just a bug.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: hendorog on April 09, 2017, 10:22:38 am

Can somebody from US tell what is the normal usage for those sirens, and what are people suppose to do when they hear them, please?

Tornadoes were mentioned. Presumably you have time to find a storm shelter - or put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: MarkS on April 09, 2017, 10:34:43 am
Huh?! So US cities have hundreds of sirens, like in the WWII? Strange.

Only cities in the Midwest, or where sudden, unpredictable and deadly storms can form in minutes. These are NOT air raid/war sirens from WWII.

Tornadoes were mentioned. Presumably you have time to find a storm shelter - or put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

Yes, these are predominately bad weather sirens. The weather in the Midwest can be very unpredictable and tornadoes can pop up with little warning. These sirens go off once cloud rotation is spotted or once a tornado is reported to have touched down. It's a system designed to work when all others fail. You don't need a phone, T.V., radio or even electricity (the sirens have backup power).
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Gyro on April 09, 2017, 10:54:13 am
Sounds like the first trial of a Russian plot to destabilize the US though sleep deprivation!  :=\
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: TerraHertz on April 09, 2017, 10:59:15 am
I don't know how it works in Dallas, but here in Oklahoma City, they test the sirens every Saturday at noon.

So, the right time to attack Oklahoma City, is Saturday at noon?

Quote
... or there is a legitimate emergency.

There was a legitimate emergency. All the bloody sirens were going from 11:40pm to 1:20am, and no one could stop them. I don't know about you, but I'd find that extremely disturbing.

I don't suppose anyone on the forum lives in Dallas, and can tell us what it sounded like?

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: PA0PBZ on April 09, 2017, 11:23:11 am
Huh?! So US cities have hundreds of sirens, like in the WWII? Strange.

We still have about 3800 sirens all over the country (Netherlands), although they will be decommissioned in 2020. It's slowly being replaced by a cell phone alert channel.
Testing is every 1st Monday of the month at noon, and if they go off at a different time you are supposed to watch regional television or radio to find out what's going on.
I think it's a leftover of the cold war, but they are supposed to be used in case of big disasters like a chemical factory on fire. I never heard them apart from the tests.

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: timb on April 09, 2017, 11:31:38 am
Huh?! So US cities have hundreds of sirens, like in the WWII? Strange.

Only cities in the Midwest, or where sudden, unpredictable and deadly storms can form in minutes. These are NOT air raid/war sirens from WWII.

Tornadoes were mentioned. Presumably you have time to find a storm shelter - or put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

Yes, these are predominately bad weather sirens. The weather in the Midwest can be very unpredictable and tornadoes can pop up with little warning. These sirens go off once cloud rotation is spotted or once a tornado is reported to have touched down. It's a system designed to work when all others fail. You don't need a phone, T.V., radio or even electricity (the sirens have backup power).

Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: RoGeorge on April 09, 2017, 12:00:19 pm
Siren usage for fast tornado forming perfectly makes sens, thank you all for explaining this.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: MarkS on April 09, 2017, 01:25:58 pm
So, the right time to attack Oklahoma City, is Saturday at noon?

No kidding! That's a running joke. What does happen if a tornado decides to touch down on a Saturday at noon? It's no less likely than any other date/time.

Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.

Ah, yes. I forgot about those.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: W2NAP on April 09, 2017, 03:59:49 pm
Huh?! So US cities have hundreds of sirens, like in the WWII? Strange.

Can somebody from US tell what is the normal usage for those sirens, and what are people suppose to do when they hear them, please?

tornado alert in many places, dam break in some, nuclear meltdown (when near nuclear reactors) and yes still would be used for air raid, or inbound nuclear attack
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: W2NAP on April 09, 2017, 04:03:23 pm
also. I am not sure what mode dallas uses them for tornado alert.. but these sirens usually have a few settings  single tone and wail (up/down)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: james_s on April 09, 2017, 04:43:25 pm
You'd think they would have a special test mode that cycles in a distinctive pattern or runs for just long enough to spool up the sirens once.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: W2NAP on April 09, 2017, 05:49:51 pm
You'd think they would have a special test mode that cycles in a distinctive pattern or runs for just long enough to spool up the sirens once.

here when they test (sat noon) they turn it on single tone for about 1 minute.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: donmr on April 09, 2017, 06:46:43 pm
Also cities on the West coast where tsunamis are a hazard.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 09, 2017, 07:14:58 pm
That is pretty funny, you'd think they would be more secure than that, like have some kind of encrypted web interface where you can flip them on/off.   
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: james_s on April 09, 2017, 07:50:39 pm
Also cities on the West coast where tsunamis are a hazard.

I'm on the West coast and I'm not aware of any sirens around here. I recall seeing a few derelict looking sirens in Los Angeles but nowhere else that I recall.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: CatalinaWOW on April 09, 2017, 10:13:08 pm
That is pretty funny, you'd think they would be more secure than that, like have some kind of encrypted web interface where you can flip them on/off.

So you encrypt them.  And then when a tornado pops up you are searching around for the guy with the encryption key.  Or you widely distribute the encryption key which starts to resemble not having encryption.

There is always a tug of war between system usability and security.  Which is why the current environment where more and more people feel free to do harmful things for fun or influence is disheartening.  It tilts the balance toward security.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: donmr on April 09, 2017, 10:41:32 pm
Also cities on the West coast where tsunamis are a hazard.

I'm on the West coast and I'm not aware of any sirens around here. I recall seeing a few derelict looking sirens in Los Angeles but nowhere else that I recall.

They are all over the Oregon and Washington coasts, along with Tsunami evacuation route signs.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: edavid on April 09, 2017, 10:48:53 pm
Also cities on the West coast where tsunamis are a hazard.

I'm on the West coast and I'm not aware of any sirens around here. I recall seeing a few derelict looking sirens in Los Angeles but nowhere else that I recall.

San Francisco not only has sirens, they test them every Tuesday!

http://sfdem.org/outdoor-public-warning-system-0 (http://sfdem.org/outdoor-public-warning-system-0)
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/What-is-that-San-Francisco-noon-siren-6462186.php (http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/What-is-that-San-Francisco-noon-siren-6462186.php)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Nusa on April 09, 2017, 10:56:08 pm
Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.
That might be their surviving usage, but used to be small town whistles/sirens were used daily to tell workers when it was lunchtime and quitting time. The practice was still common when I was a kid, but it's a pretty rare town that still does now that everyone wears a watch or carries a smartphone.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 10, 2017, 03:00:37 am
That is pretty funny, you'd think they would be more secure than that, like have some kind of encrypted web interface where you can flip them on/off.

So you encrypt them.  And then when a tornado pops up you are searching around for the guy with the encryption key.  Or you widely distribute the encryption key which starts to resemble not having encryption.

There is always a tug of war between system usability and security.  Which is why the current environment where more and more people feel free to do harmful things for fun or influence is disheartening.  It tilts the balance toward security.

Suppose the info could leak, but this is like any other system, only ones whose job it is to use it would be given access.    Or is this something actually meant to be used by the public? ex: if you spot a tornado.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: rsjsouza on April 10, 2017, 03:51:47 am
I don't suppose anyone on the forum lives in Dallas, and can tell us what it sounded like?

The sound is very similar to WWII air raid sirens. One example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrL8khHgyYY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrL8khHgyYY)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 10, 2017, 04:16:04 am
That is super haunting.  Pretty much the sound of impeding doom.

That is why I live where the air hurts my face.  :P
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: CatalinaWOW on April 10, 2017, 04:25:31 am
That is pretty funny, you'd think they would be more secure than that, like have some kind of encrypted web interface where you can flip them on/off.

So you encrypt them.  And then when a tornado pops up you are searching around for the guy with the encryption key.  Or you widely distribute the encryption key which starts to resemble not having encryption.

There is always a tug of war between system usability and security.  Which is why the current environment where more and more people feel free to do harmful things for fun or influence is disheartening.  It tilts the balance toward security.

Suppose the info could leak, but this is like any other system, only ones whose job it is to use it would be given access.    Or is this something actually meant to be used by the public? ex: if you spot a tornado.

Access of course could be limited.  But as we all know a secret known to more than one person isn't a secret.  And normal operation of a system like this would require dozens if not hundreds to know the key.  If you can only trigger the system through radar detections you could keep the numbers relatively small (three shifts, weekend, + illness and vacation coverage).  Frequent changes of encryption key would solve the turnover problem, but again you have compromised usability.  This isn't a system you use hourly, or even daily, so people will record the key in informal "safe" storage.  On a calendar, or mouse pad, or in their iPhone.  If you want to add field observation to the mix the numbers skyrocket.  Active police and firemen?  Weather watchers?  The general public?   
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: vk6zgo on April 10, 2017, 04:36:16 am

Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.

Also in West Oz, & probably other Australian States in places that bush fires ( not "brush fires"---these are full-on "forest fires") are an ever present threat during the Summer months.

If you don't live in the town, it can scare the bejabbers out of you when they suddenly wind up.
After looking around, & not seeing any locals scurrying to the Firehouse, you know it is a test!



Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: aargee on April 10, 2017, 07:26:31 am
In Australia we have this...http://www.emergencyalert.gov.au/images/stories/public_msg_w_tone.mp3 (http://www.emergencyalert.gov.au/images/stories/public_msg_w_tone.mp3)

Transmitted on all media as an alert for all disasters. This started in my home state, Queensland, as an indicator of imminent cyclone arrival and still sends a chill up my spine. It is instantly recognisable and can be identified even under noisy conditions.
It was adopted as the national SEWS (Standard Emergency Warning Signal) Australia-wide, it's use by media is strictly regulated by disaster organisations.

Essentially it means listen/watch and find out. (how you might be in peril!!)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Someone on April 10, 2017, 09:00:36 am
Quote
The late night sounding of emergency warning sirens in the city of Dallas, Texas, was due to a hacker being able to access and repeatedly activate the system, Dallas city officials say.

The sirens were first heard at about 11:45 p.m., and sounded on and off intermittently across the city.

"All 156 sirens in the city were activated last night," Dallas public information officer Sana Syed said. "It does appear at this time that it was a hack. We do believe that it was from the Dallas area."

Someone was able to gain access to the system and activate the sirens, city officials said.

Another lesson to learn, 911 was jammed because thousands of people rang up to ask "are we being attacked?" because of concerns about "what is going on overseas".
Wow, so the public are complete morons?
http://dallascityhall.com/departments/officeemergencymanagement/Pages/Outdoor%20Warning%20Sirens.aspx (http://dallascityhall.com/departments/officeemergencymanagement/Pages/Outdoor%20Warning%20Sirens.aspx)
Quote from: City of Dallas
The outdoor warning system consists of 156 sirens strategically placed throughout the City of Dallas.

Outdoor warning sirens are designed to alert people outside to go indoors for shelter and information. The sirens are not meant to be heard indoors. ?Once in a safe location, tune to local media for up to date instructions.
Just like the rest of the world, step two once emergency sirens are running is to tune into official broadcasts and find out why.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: CJay on April 10, 2017, 09:44:05 am
This isn't funny and is no prank. Whoever did this needs to be caught and punished. This area is known for high tornado risks. These sirens are the only way to communicate the danger to the entire population and it must both work flawlessly and be trusted.

Highly irresponsible, illegal and extremely worrying, but the system soumds badly flawed, lacking in security and poorly managed, a worthy hack if it improves the system in the long run.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: CJay on April 10, 2017, 09:53:36 am
Of course you are correct, but when emotion is removed there is a learning in just about anything.

I agree. These systems should be secure. It is just that we shouldn't be learning about any vulnerabilities after deployment. Once in the field, they have to work.

Technology moves on, what was secure yesterday cannot be guaranteed to be secure tomorrow, vulnerabilities and flaws are regularly found in the field and should be exposed, patched and monitored, people plug things in, make changes to configurations etc. Equipment fails in odd and not always predictable ways.

It's ridiculous position to take that systems can be/are invulnerable and flawless, especially when there's a human element involved.

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Halcyon on April 10, 2017, 10:48:32 am
Sydney has a similar system which to my understanding uses encrypted radio transmissions, similar to that used by Police. Radios can be re-keyed easily and periodically. Keys and key loaders are strictly audited and controlled.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Cerebus on April 10, 2017, 11:07:23 am

Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.

Also in West Oz, & probably other Australian States in places that bush fires ( not "brush fires"---these are full-on "forest fires") are an ever present threat during the Summer months.

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: vk6zgo on April 10, 2017, 11:26:01 am

Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.

Also in West Oz, & probably other Australian States in places that bush fires ( not "brush fires"---these are full-on "forest fires") are an ever present threat during the Summer months.

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)

Wildlife aren't very good at getting away from fires & often perish.

The firefighters run towards the fire.

The rest of us are supposed to be smarter than the average "drop bear", & are wise to wait to be told the safe places to run to.

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: rsjsouza on April 10, 2017, 12:12:21 pm
That is super haunting.  Pretty much the sound of impeding doom.

That is why I live where the air hurts my face.  :P
It has to be, when you are dealing with something that causes this mess (https://www.google.com/search?q=tornado+2015+christmas&safe=off&sa=X&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=0ahUKEwjt5fnM65nTAhWLjlQKHfYIBCkQsAQIUQ&biw=1228&bih=658) (near my home in Garland)

Wow, so the public are complete morons?
TBH, the absolute majority of people know exactly what to do when the sirens start - unless you just arrived to this country (like me) and thought the sound was amusing but had no idea what is was... :P

IMO to call 911 with a simple question like this is also irresponsible.

http://dallascityhall.com/departments/officeemergencymanagement/Pages/Outdoor%20Warning%20Sirens.aspx (http://dallascityhall.com/departments/officeemergencymanagement/Pages/Outdoor%20Warning%20Sirens.aspx)
Quote from: City of Dallas
The outdoor warning system consists of 156 sirens strategically placed throughout the City of Dallas.

Outdoor warning sirens are designed to alert people outside to go indoors for shelter and information. The sirens are not meant to be heard indoors. ?Once in a safe location, tune to local media for up to date instructions.
Just like the rest of the world, step two once emergency sirens are running is to tune into official broadcasts and find out why.
Oh, I can tell you the sirens can be heard from indoors alright, especially if you live closer to one of them (just like I did in my previous house).

TVs and radios also signal something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHspEFk-vd0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHspEFk-vd0)
Title: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: timb on April 10, 2017, 12:14:03 pm
You know, thinking about these sirens made me remember something from when I was a kid. (I say kid, but I was really a toddler, maybe 3 or 4 at the most.) My mom had to work, so she left me with a nice older lady who babysat a few kids during the day. Her house was right next to the town's water tower. The emergency siren was on said water tower. Said siren would go off to dispatch the volunteer fire department. Being right next to it, it was *very* loud and absolutely scared the bejesus out of me. Terrified would be a better word.

The fear is so engrained in me that when I visit my parents, who now live in another town that still uses a siren, and it goes off to alert the local fire department, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. I can hear this wailing out in the distance and I get this brief sense of dread and an incredible feeling of unease the whole time it's going. It creeps me the hell out, all because of the siren that terrorized me as a toddler.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: nctnico on April 10, 2017, 02:57:45 pm

Similar sirens are also used in small towns across the US, primarily as a means of recalling volunteer paramedics/firefighters to the station during an emergency call.

Also in West Oz, & probably other Australian States in places that bush fires ( not "brush fires"---these are full-on "forest fires") are an ever present threat during the Summer months.

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)
That is assuming wildfire burns as a single front and AFAIK it usually doesn't so running towards bush which isn't burning may lead straight into the flames a couple of hundred meters away. IMHO the best thing to do would be to climb in a tree (or anything else high) to see where it is safe and then go into that direction.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Nusa on April 10, 2017, 03:11:09 pm
Tornado sirens were designed to develop about 130 dB at 100 feet and be loud enough to be noticed for at least a mile outdoors. Audible for miles more, if you were already alert. Obviously that's going to penetrate indoors for the closer houses. If they weren't generally installed on tall poles or objects with directional cones, those in the immediate vicinity of the siren would be running away with stabbing pain in their ears. Even so, it's uncomfortable to remain that close without ear protection.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Cerebus on April 10, 2017, 04:26:57 pm
IMHO the best thing to do would be to climb in a tree (or anything else high) to see where it is safe and then go into that direction.

You can't do that - the drop bears'll get you.  :)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: vk6zgo on April 10, 2017, 11:33:29 pm

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)
Quote
That is assuming wildfire burns as a single front and AFAIK it usually doesn't so running towards bush which isn't burning may lead straight into the flames a couple of hundred meters away. IMHO the best thing to do would be to climb in a tree (or anything else high) to see where it is safe and then go into that direction.

No!----- stay well away from trees.

When it is hot, eucalyptus trees (& I believe,also conifers), are surrounded by an "cloud" of flammable oil vapour excreted (not quite the right word ;D) by their leaves (or needles).

It is quite common in Australia for a fire front to leap from one tree to the next, without needing to burn the undergrowth in between
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Cerebus on April 11, 2017, 12:42:57 am
When it is hot, eucalyptus trees (& I believe,also conifers), are surrounded by an "cloud" of flammable oil vapour excreted (not quite the right word ;D) by their leaves (or needles).

I've thankfully never been anywhere near a forest fire but I have been around a lot of woodworking and I can confirm that offcuts of conifers chucked into the stove burn very quickly and very hot (faster and hotter than non-coniferous softwoods) and eucalyptus species are particularly vigorous. As they heat you can see resin/turpentine bubble to the surface, evaporate and ignite.

Oh, and excretions are waste products, secretions are useful, deliberately produced substances. So the word you were grasping for was secreted.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Someone on April 11, 2017, 12:56:35 am

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)
Quote
That is assuming wildfire burns as a single front and AFAIK it usually doesn't so running towards bush which isn't burning may lead straight into the flames a couple of hundred meters away. IMHO the best thing to do would be to climb in a tree (or anything else high) to see where it is safe and then go into that direction.

No!----- stay well away from trees.

When it is hot, eucalyptus trees (& I believe,also conifers), are surrounded by an "cloud" of flammable oil vapour excreted (not quite the right word ;D) by their leaves (or needles).

It is quite common in Australia for a fire front to leap from one tree to the next, without needing to burn the undergrowth in between
Having been in the middle of bushfires the entire concept is broken, thick smoke can prevent seeing anything beyond 50m. You need a lot of advance warning to decide what to do and avoid being cutoff (if deciding to leave).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xTWUYVuv5c (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xTWUYVuv5c)
Spatial awareness in such emergencies is poor even from the emergency services:
http://www.bushfirecrc.com/news/news-item/underestimating-speed-and-overestimating-distance-wildfire-avoiding-entrapment-and-bu (http://www.bushfirecrc.com/news/news-item/underestimating-speed-and-overestimating-distance-wildfire-avoiding-entrapment-and-bu)
For a very good overview of the basics:
https://blog.csiro.au/bushfire-basics/ (https://blog.csiro.au/bushfire-basics/)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: timb on April 11, 2017, 06:23:29 am

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)
Quote
That is assuming wildfire burns as a single front and AFAIK it usually doesn't so running towards bush which isn't burning may lead straight into the flames a couple of hundred meters away. IMHO the best thing to do would be to climb in a tree (or anything else high) to see where it is safe and then go into that direction.

No!----- stay well away from trees.

When it is hot, eucalyptus trees (& I believe,also conifers), are surrounded by an "cloud" of flammable oil vapour excreted (not quite the right word ;D) by their leaves (or needles).

It is quite common in Australia for a fire front to leap from one tree to the next, without needing to burn the undergrowth in between

Jesus. Even the trees can kill you in Australia?!
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: CJay on April 11, 2017, 06:30:42 am

What's the point? The wave of snakes, spiders and drop bears running away from the fire would provide you with ample warning and quite sufficient motive to run away.  :)
Quote
That is assuming wildfire burns as a single front and AFAIK it usually doesn't so running towards bush which isn't burning may lead straight into the flames a couple of hundred meters away. IMHO the best thing to do would be to climb in a tree (or anything else high) to see where it is safe and then go into that direction.

No!----- stay well away from trees.

When it is hot, eucalyptus trees (& I believe,also conifers), are surrounded by an "cloud" of flammable oil vapour excreted (not quite the right word ;D) by their leaves (or needles).

It is quite common in Australia for a fire front to leap from one tree to the next, without needing to burn the undergrowth in between

Jesus. Even the trees can kill you in Australia?!

Well to be fair, they can kill you in most parts of the world, not many people survive entirely unscathed a tree falling on them
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Someone on April 11, 2017, 08:46:27 am
It is quite common in Australia for a fire front to leap from one tree to the next, without needing to burn the undergrowth in between
Jesus. Even the trees can kill you in Australia?!
Well to be fair, they can kill you in most parts of the world, not many people survive entirely unscathed a tree falling on them
Well to get specific; trees falling on people is a cause of fatalities similar in risk to being killed by a snake. But if you take all the dangerous plants and animals in Australia and look at all the deaths caused by them, its still at least an order of magnitude lower risk than being shot and killed in the US. Dangers are relative, you're more likely to be killed in a road accident than either of those other categories.

To show just how fast the fires can be upon you:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIHIsSJ2Txk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIHIsSJ2Txk)
Thats the professionals getting it horribly wrong
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: CJay on April 11, 2017, 09:20:56 am
Well to get specific; trees falling on people is a cause of fatalities similar in risk to being killed by a snake. But if you take all the dangerous plants and animals in Australia and look at all the deaths caused by them, its still at least an order of magnitude lower risk than being shot and killed in the US. Dangers are relative, you're more likely to be killed in a road accident than either of those other categories.

To show just how fast the fires can be upon you:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIHIsSJ2Txk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIHIsSJ2Txk)
Thats the professionals getting it horribly wrong

Yeah, it was a slightly tongue in cheek comment, I've seen videos similar to that one and heard the recollections of survivors as well, it's a horrifying spectacle.

I'm lucky in that my country rarely (never?) suffers that sort of thing but I have seen the speed a field of dry arable crop burns at, it's quite frightening to watch yet far less intense than a true forest/bush fire.

I think pine forests would be similar risk as they have a similar volatile sap?

Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Someone on April 11, 2017, 09:42:11 am
I think pine forests would be similar risk as they have a similar volatile sap?
Often even faster for pine when they're dry, depends on the climate.
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: vwestlife on April 11, 2017, 11:52:34 pm
That might be their surviving usage, but used to be small town whistles/sirens were used daily to tell workers when it was lunchtime and quitting time. The practice was still common when I was a kid, but it's a pretty rare town that still does now that everyone wears a watch or carries a smartphone.
In Japan, large outdoor PA speakers play music at 5 PM every day to remind the kids who are out playing to come home:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha0FmDSvVgY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha0FmDSvVgY)

This article explains it: https://blog.gaijinpot.com/tokyo-5pm-song/ (https://blog.gaijinpot.com/tokyo-5pm-song/)

"The beloved music is used as both a daily safety check to ensure the broadcast system and speakers are working correctly, and also to remind children that playtime is over and that they should return home before dark."

And as for the tsunami warning sirens on the Pacific coast, Cannon Beach, Oregon uses the sound of a mooing cow to test the warning sirens, so that people won't confuse it with an actual emergency. It's so distinctive that tourists actually come to visit just to hear the cow siren!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E52UHuPsytY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E52UHuPsytY)
Title: Re: Hacker triggeres all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas, Texas
Post by: Cerebus on April 12, 2017, 12:55:52 am
"The beloved music is used as both a daily safety check to ensure the broadcast system and speakers are working correctly, and also to remind children that playtime is over and that they should return home before dark."

I like that.

If you wanted something for a daily test that was a little more universal, an alternative would be, at sunset, to play the retreat on the bugle (or 'taps', both traditional for sunset in different places).

And as for the tsunami warning sirens on the Pacific coast, Cannon Beach, Oregon uses the sound of a mooing cow to test the warning sirens, so that people won't confuse it with an actual emergency.

What if it's a really nervous sounding cow?  :)