After a “test pilot failure,” Dunwoody City Council voted June 22 to suspend indefinitely its lightning warning system.
The alert sirens installed in October near Brook Run and Dunwoody parks were set to go off any time lightning hit within a 10-mile radius. Neighbors said that no one pays attention and the noise is “torture.”

The issue came before council because Brent Walker, Dunwoody’s parks director, asked council members for guidance to respond to several neighbors’ complaints concerning the alerts.

Franci Etheridge, whose Wyntercreek Lane home backs up to the baseball field in Dunwoody Park, said the alerts sound “for no apparent reason,” and caused one of her neighbors to have post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. She added other neighbors had to buy noise machines to cancel out the siren so their children could nap.

“We are saddened by this noise torture,” Franci Ethridge said.

Her husband added an anecdote about a trash collector’s response to the sirens hear at their house. “He said, ‘you live here and you have to put up with that?’” Roy Etheridge said. “I think he actually felt sorry for me.”

Lewis Gruskin, a 37-year resident, said no one pays attention to the alerts anyway. He asked the city to use only a tornado warning system. Council members Lynn Deutsch and Jim Riticher agreed. They watched people’s reactions at alerts sounded at Brook Run Park during a council caravan June 18.

“It was going off incessantly and no one paid any attention to it whatsoever,” Riticher said.

Deustch said she feels skeptical about the whole lightning alert system, calling it “outdated.”

“They really ignored it, they didn’t even lift their heads,” Deutsch said about children playing on metal playground equipment. She said even she didn’t know the difference between the different sound blasts. “They aren’t effective.”

After voting unanimously to cut off the alert system, Councilman Denis Shortal asked Walker to look into possible solutions for adjusting the warning system to be effective.

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