Generator test sets off false alarms for Puyallup lahar siren

A lahar siren went off twice Thursday morning in Puyallup during an unrelated test on equipment in the building where it is housed.

Several people reported hearing the sirens around 7 a.m. and again later in the morning. That is outside the standard time frame for routine warning-system testing, which is normally done for a minute on the first Monday of every month at noon.

Puyallup police spokesman Scott Engle said the siren sounded for an unknown reason during a generator test, which he said has never happened during previous tests.

The siren is located at the public safety building in the 300 block of West Pioneer Avenue.

“We apologize for the alarm this caused citizens with the inadvertent activation of the lahar siren,” Engle said in a statement.

A system of 17 lahar sirens in the Puyallup Valley is coordinated by Pierce County Emergency Management.

Department spokeswoman Sheri Badger said the siren that went off in Puyallup wasn’t part of that system, but rather an older system managed by the city.

The sirens are meant to alert Puyallup Valley residents of a potentially catastrophic mudflow from a Mount Rainier eruption. Routine tests are done on those sirens each month in Puyallup and surrounding communities.