The Office of Emergency Management was able to turn off all the sirens by 1:20 a.m., said Syed.
Sana Syed, a spokeswoman for the city, said in a telephone interview that the sound of the sirens, which are meant to alert the public to severe weather or other emergencies, was interpreted by some as a warning sign of a "bomb or something, a missile". "For security reasons, we can not discuss the details of how this was done, but we do believe that the hack came from the Dallas area". The Dallas Morning News reports that more than 4,400 calls were placed to 911 between 11:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. which is twice the number of calls usually received between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The rush of inquiries caused a backlog, forcing some callers to wait up to six minutes to speak with emergency personnel.
Residents were particularly frightened given the timing of the incident. And on Thursday, the U.S. struck an air base in Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack there. "And it's 11:45 p.m. on a Friday night what the hell?"
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Last November, the Dallas City Council allocated $567,368 to upgrade the emergency sirens, which primarily serve to warn residents of the thunderstorms and tornadoes that regularly sweep through North Texas during the spring.
While Vaz conceded that identifying the attacker (s) will be like finding a needle in a haystack, Mayor Mike Rawlings affirmed that authorities will find and prosecute the party or parties responsible. What better way to sound the alarm about a vulnerability than to use the city's own, incredibly loud warning system to do it?