The case of the 'missing' red alerts, solved

The exploding sound of rockets intercepted overhead travels farther than the highly localized sirens, the IDF says.

Code Red app (photo credit: Courtesy)
Code Red app
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For many Israelis, the Color Red response has become routine: a siren sounds, they drop what they’re doing, and run to a secure area.
Though Home Front Command instructs people to wait 10 minutes, many return to their activities shortly after they hear the boom of an Iron Dome interception.
Yet as the rockets rage on, many have been discomfited by apparent aberrations in the routine when they hear the explosion of an interception, with nary a siren sounding.
“What happened to the siren for that second rocket over Tel Aviv? #epicfail. Please look into this ASAP,” one Tel Aviv resident wrote to the IDF on Facebook early in the conflict.
“If there’s a rocket shot from Gaza with a trajectory that will most likely end in Tel Aviv, I’d like to get a little warning so I can grab my kid and run to the basement,” he added in subsequent comments.
Many people who are hearing-impaired or concerned about getting caught in a place that the sirens do not penetrate have turned to their mobile devices, downloading red alert apps to get the information when they need it.
While the apparent missing sirens are unnerving, the IDF says there have been no failures with the Color Red system.
Instead, there is a disparity between the scope of the red alerts, which are very local, and the sound of the rocket interceptions, which carry quite a ways.
“Home Front command can predict very, very precisely where the rocket is heading,” an IDF spokesman said. At the start of the year, the command divided the country into 201 siren districts of varying sizes, depending on factors such as population density.
When a rocket is fired from Gaza, the IDF quickly calculates where the rocket is heading, and initiates the Color Red alert there. Not only that, it can calculate where Iron Dome will intercept the rocket, and set off an additional siren there.
“If there’s a rocket heading to Tel Aviv and shot down over Rishon Lezion, there will be sirens in both places,” the IDF explained.
If people hear a rocket interception without a warning, they should not worry that it was headed in their direction or that the sirens failed, the army said.