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Tornado Sirens Part IV: How Money Could Be Better Spent

Over two million dollars for tornado sirens.  Maybe even double that for the size of Lubbock.  Yeah, you’re a bit “shell shocked” because you’ve seen recent damage in Oklahoma, but are you really increasing your odds of not falling victim to some non health related tragedy?  The answer is no, and I can’t believe people aren’t doing the math.

I think people are so used to hearing “million dollars” that they don’t really know what it is, or what it could mean.  Thank about this.  For a million dollars we could put an extra cop, fireman or first responder on the scene at $50K for twenty years.  So your chances of being killed by a tornado are 1 in 2 million.  What’s the chances you’re going to need a cop, fireman or first responder in the next twenty years? Pretty good, I’d say.

Let’s look at this another way.  So maybe you still think four million bucks is a good deal for tornado sirens; where are you going to go when you hear them?  Wouldn’t it be better to build four one million dollar tornado shelters around town?

Let’s go even farther, for about 1/4 of the cost (probably much less actually) of tornado sirens, you could buy every family in Lubbock a weather radio that not only goes off in the case of severe weather, it gives them detailed information on what is happening.

I could go on and on.  I’m just trying to make you aware that you are being whipped into a frenzy about something that is very ineffective.  There are people that for whatever reason, want to sell you this dated technology to protect you from a threat that is relatively low ( your chances of dying in a tornado are one in two million).

Of course, I get snippy little messages saying “you’ll change your mind when people get killed by a tornado”.  That is a horribly inane argument.  Of course somebody wishes they had bought a pool cover when someone drowns in an uncovered pool, it’s just a matter of protecting ourselves from the things most likely to harm our citizens.  It’s also a matter of finding the most effective way to protect the populace.  You are much more  likely to be shot, dying in a fire, having an accident and not getting to the hospital in time are almost infinitely greater than to be killed by a tornado.  So why doesn’t it make more sense, if you’re concerned about safety, to put more police and first responders on?

I’m not being callous about human life, in fact it’s quite the opposite. If you want to spend money on safety, that’s awesome.  Just use it where it’s most likely to help.


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