Siren Incident in Carnation: Updates on Investigation and Dam Safety Measures

Here’s a statement from Seattle Public Utilities with the latest on our investigation into what happened last Wednesday in Carnation:

 Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) investigation into the unplanned siren activation in Carnation on March 27, 2024, is ongoing. To date, we have learned that one of our vendors, Federal Signal, accidentally caused the activation while doing remote work on the system. Federal Signal has said that one of its employees failed to follow procedures by not turning off siren communications while performing the planned work. Federal Signal has apologized to SPU and asked us to convey their apology to the Carnation community.

 As part of our investigation, SPU is asking anyone in the Carnation area who heard the unplanned siren on the morning of March 27 to contact us so we can gather some information: short survey about the unplanned sound on March 27, 206-494-5986 or email at

 The Tolt Dam remains safe. SPU monitors it 24/7, 365 days a year, and following the March 27 unplanned sounding, we have increased daily inspections. Our robust dam safety program includes daily visual inspections and instrument readings by operators, dam safety quarterly inspections, federal annual inspections, and independent consultant inspections every five years.

 SPU has canceled the weekly noon siren test on April 3 in Carnation while we continue investigating. We have worked with the King County Office of Emergency Management to ensure the community would be notified in the unlikely event of a dam emergency through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) System. WEA would broadcast a safety message to all cell phones in the impacted area, similar to an Amber Alert. No one needs to subscribe- these alerts are automatic.

 For information about the Tolt Dam Early Warning System, visit:

Tolt Dam Early Warning System – Utilities |

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