French city panics after nuclear alert siren malfunction

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Residents of Strasbourg panicked Tuesday after sirens wailed for 90 minutes.

STRASBOURG – Residents of the French city Strasbourg panicked Tuesday after sirens used to warn of impending nuclear attack or natural catastrophe malfunctioned and wailed for 90 minutes.

The eastern city's fire and rescue service switchboard was flooded with about 600 calls during that time, 10 times more than normal, officials and France Telecom said, adding that the sirens went off due to a technical hitch.

France's nationwide emergency warning network is the legacy of the air-raid siren network developed for World War II. It has 4,500 sirens placed around the country which are tested at midday on the first Wednesday of every month.

France Telecom, which runs the system, offered residents of Strasbourg "its apologies for the inconvenience they may have suffered" during Tuesday's malfunction which affected several districts of the city.

[AFP / Expatica]

3 Comments To This Article

  • Mr. Completely posted:

    on 20th February 2009, 04:05:51 - Reply

    At least they work better than the Maginot Line did.
  • JimC posted:

    on 19th February 2009, 02:20:54 - Reply

    Been there, done that. I'm old enough to vaguely remember when Chicago officials sounded the air raid sirens at 10:30 PM on Sept. 22, 1959 when the White Sox won the pennant. The Cold War was running pretty hot at the time. Hilarity did NOT ensue.
  • Bill posted:

    on 18th February 2009, 20:29:52 - Reply

    Great -all someone has to do now is schedule an attack midday, first Wednesday of next month. Everyone will ignore the sirens, resulting in maximum damage. Way to go Strasbourg!