Residents dialing wrong numbers mistakenly activate tornado sirens

HUTCHINSON, Kan. | Talk about a wrong number.

Authorities say a phone glitch is to blame for the mistaken sounding of tornado sirens in recent weeks in and around Hutchinson, causing confusion and even panic among some residents.

At first, officials suspected there was water on the phone lines or even ants, which have caused the sirens to unexpectedly sound in the past.

But as it turns out, the sirens are assigned local phone numbers and are activated when those numbers are dialed by emergency workers. So when a software glitch exposed the lines to outside calls, residents who mistakenly dialed the wrong number ended up activating the sirens.

Officials have fixed the problem by assigning new, secure phone numbers to the sirens.