14 votes

Does your city have civil defense/fire/air raid sirens or similar systems?

Heya, fellow Tildees!
Given how my city (Celle in northern-ish Germany) just did the monthly test of them, I wonder how widespread they are in the rest of the world and what they're used for. Here the system's used for alerting firefighters, though they all have pagers or similar by now.
Also I'd assume there are more modern solutions to quickly warn the population. Tell us all about it!

25 comments

  1. [3]
    asoftbird
    Link
    The Netherlands have a siren warning system that's tested every first monday of the month at 12pm and is currently being phased out in favor of governmental alerts(NLAlerts) on phones, which many...

    The Netherlands have a siren warning system that's tested every first monday of the month at 12pm and is currently being phased out in favor of governmental alerts(NLAlerts) on phones, which many think is a really stupid idea.

    The alerts don't work on a lot of older phones whereas the old sirens can be heard by everyone, everywhere. l'm aware that it's said that only a few people need to have the alert because they can communicate with other people, but what if you're alone somewhere and it doesn't work?

    Also, l've heard a lot of cases where they send out the wrong alert to the wrong people, send alerts for mundane things, send an alert five times a day, or send it much later than the incident occured.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      clerical_terrors
      Link Parent
      I hadn't heard about this yet, seems like a really bad idea given how well our current alert system seems to work (though it's never really had a live-fire test) What would phasing out the old...

      I hadn't heard about this yet, seems like a really bad idea given how well our current alert system seems to work (though it's never really had a live-fire test) What would phasing out the old sirens accomplish?

      4 votes
      1. asoftbird
        Link Parent
        I think it's partially upkeep cost related and partially politicians who have no idea what they're doing. Currently about 75% of the population over 12yo has it working. This excludes a lot of...

        I think it's partially upkeep cost related and partially politicians who have no idea what they're doing.

        Currently about 75% of the population over 12yo has it working. This excludes a lot of older people who don't have phones or don't know how it works, and people who use old phones that don't support the system.

        There's also a lot of trouble around country borders; people's phones pick up the signal from Belgium's or Germany's networks and then don't get the alerts. The shutdown of the old siren system has been postponed to late 2020 afaik.

        3 votes
  2. [4]
    Fierre
    Link
    In my hometown in Illinois, US, they were tested on the first Tuesday of every month. They are now used as tornado alarms, but I believe they were originally used as an air raid alarms or...

    In my hometown in Illinois, US, they were tested on the first Tuesday of every month. They are now used as tornado alarms, but I believe they were originally used as an air raid alarms or something like that during the 50s and 60s.

    I currently live in China and although they may have such a system in here, I've never heard it tested or anything.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Gyrfalcon
      Link Parent
      Midwest here, and tornado sirens seem to be common everywhere I've been. On my school campus they give us the simple emergency advice of "If you hear sirens outside, go inside. If you hear sirens...

      Midwest here, and tornado sirens seem to be common everywhere I've been. On my school campus they give us the simple emergency advice of "If you hear sirens outside, go inside. If you hear sirens inside, go outside," which I think covers most reasonable bases.

      4 votes
      1. TheRtRevKaiser
        Link Parent
        We have them where I live in Alabama as well, they usually go off if a tornado warning has been called for the area.

        We have them where I live in Alabama as well, they usually go off if a tornado warning has been called for the area.

        4 votes
    2. emnii
      Link Parent
      Yep, everywhere I've lived in IL has tornado sirens, tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10am.

      Yep, everywhere I've lived in IL has tornado sirens, tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10am.

      3 votes
  3. [4]
    Silbern
    Link
    Yes! Absolutely. I live in Honolulu, and we have a whole slew of warning sirens and emergency communication stuff, for tsunamis, eruptions, nuclear missiles, everything really. They were actually...

    Yes! Absolutely. I live in Honolulu, and we have a whole slew of warning sirens and emergency communication stuff, for tsunamis, eruptions, nuclear missiles, everything really. They were actually dormant up until about a year ago, when they revived the old nuclear sirens because of North Korea tensions. It sounds really retro when they go off on the 1st of every month, which is tomorrow too.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      Micycle_the_Bichael
      Link Parent
      Was Honolulu the island that had the issue where the emergency alert accidentally went off and caused panic?

      Was Honolulu the island that had the issue where the emergency alert accidentally went off and caused panic?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. Micycle_the_Bichael
          Link Parent
          You are correct. Sorry, I looked it up and meant to edit my post with a source and update but work got in the way :/ thank you for posting that though!

          You are correct. Sorry, I looked it up and meant to edit my post with a source and update but work got in the way :/ thank you for posting that though!

          3 votes
      2. Silbern
        Link Parent
        The island is actually called Oahu, and Honolulu is the largest city on that island :) but yeah, we were the epicenter. Everybody in Hawaii got the alert iirc, but it had the greatest impact here...

        The island is actually called Oahu, and Honolulu is the largest city on that island :) but yeah, we were the epicenter. Everybody in Hawaii got the alert iirc, but it had the greatest impact here because if there's ever a missile aimed at Hawaii, it'd aim for the most populated island with all the military infrastructure. Shook a lot of people up.

        3 votes
  4. [2]
    boredop
    Link
    There is nothing like this in New York City that I am aware of, but I know the suburbs to the north of the city (Rockland, Westchester, Duchess, Orange and Putnam Counties) have warning sirens for...

    There is nothing like this in New York City that I am aware of, but I know the suburbs to the north of the city (Rockland, Westchester, Duchess, Orange and Putnam Counties) have warning sirens for the nearby Indian Point nuclear power plant. They're tested once or twice a year. The nuclear reactors are supposed to be shutting down by the end of next year so the sirens may be retired after that.

    4 votes
    1. sublime_aenima
      Link Parent
      Once the nuclear power plant near me shit down, the siren testing did as well.

      Once the nuclear power plant near me shit down, the siren testing did as well.

      1 vote
  5. makesey
    Link
    Austria is fully covered by sirens which are typically used for alerting the fire brigade although pagers and other radio systems become more popular. The sirens are tested every Saturday at noon...

    Austria is fully covered by sirens which are typically used for alerting the fire brigade although pagers and other radio systems become more popular. The sirens are tested every Saturday at noon (except for Vienna) and on every first Saturday in October the civil defense alarm signals are tested.

    3 votes
  6. Neverland
    (edited )
    Link
    Seattle, USA. We will go blissfully into the night with no warning of attack. At least no warning via siren. We do have the cellular alert system though. However, in nearby areas there is a siren...

    Seattle, USA. We will go blissfully into the night with no warning of attack. At least no warning via siren. We do have the cellular alert system though.

    However, in nearby areas there is a siren system in the flood-path of our friendly looming volcano, Mt Rainer.. In case of an eruption there are a few towns directly in the path of the resulting Lahar. It is very similar to systems for tornadoes or tsunamis. Here is a link directly to the system's wiki entry.

    edit: a little tidbit from Mt Rainier's wiki entry:

    Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could produce massive lahars that could threaten the entire Puyallup River valley. "About 80,000 people and their homes are at risk in Mount Rainier’s lahar-hazard zones

    3 votes
  7. MimicSquid
    Link
    Berkeley and San Francisco still have and test their air raid sirens once a month, though without any sort of culture of preparation or response to them, who knows what good they would do in an...

    Berkeley and San Francisco still have and test their air raid sirens once a month, though without any sort of culture of preparation or response to them, who knows what good they would do in an emergency.

    3 votes
  8. hamstergeddon
    (edited )
    Link
    Where I live now we don't have anything like that (aside from the usual emergency broadcast system via TV/radio, of course). But in the town I grew up in (rural MD), we had an air raid siren that...

    Where I live now we don't have anything like that (aside from the usual emergency broadcast system via TV/radio, of course). But in the town I grew up in (rural MD), we had an air raid siren that was used by the volunteer fire department to signal them to come to the station. They had a pager system as well, so I'm not sure if the siren was functionally necessary. But to me it was part of the town's charm. All at once the entire town knew something was happening.

    My guess would be that in the event of a tornado, the siren would probably be used. Because if you heard that thing going off for more than 30 seconds you'd know something unusual was happening.

    3 votes
  9. mftrhu
    Link
    It does not, and I have never heard air raid sirens, or of air raid sirens, before seeing the Silent Hill movie sometimes in 2012. I didn't even know that Italy actually had them at all until I...

    It does not, and I have never heard air raid sirens, or of air raid sirens, before seeing the Silent Hill movie sometimes in 2012. I didn't even know that Italy actually had them at all until I checked Wikipedia just now.

    During World War II every town had one, and several were present in each large city. Even after the danger of bombings had ended, they were kept in order to provide warning in case of any danger (e.g. high water in Venice).

    As of 2015, some of them still survive. For instance, as many as 34 have been located in Rome by crowdsourcing. Up until the 1980s they underwent routine maintenance and sounded at noon.[16]

    In addition, the Protezione Civile (Civil Protection) operates sirens to warn the public in case of a threat to the citizen population. Protezione Civile also provides transport needs and military defense for the Government of Italy. These defence systems were put in place in the 1990s and are occasionally still used today.[17]

    3 votes
  10. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    It's Russia. Of course we have sirens. Tests used to be annual when I was at school. Haven't heard one in a while. Don't need 'em here: it's quiet and peaceful; no floods, no forest fires, no wild...

    It's Russia. Of course we have sirens.

    Tests used to be annual when I was at school. Haven't heard one in a while. Don't need 'em here: it's quiet and peaceful; no floods, no forest fires, no wild animals.

    2 votes
  11. a_wild_swarm_appears
    Link
    There's one in Lund, Sweden. It's tested every month, and I believe it's a warning system for chemical explosions. If the alarm goes off you have 15 minutes to get out of the city, or something...

    There's one in Lund, Sweden. It's tested every month, and I believe it's a warning system for chemical explosions. If the alarm goes off you have 15 minutes to get out of the city, or something like that. Not 100% sure.

    2 votes
  12. Brock_Knifemann
    Link
    I live in the greater Seattle metro area, in the US. We used to have sirens all over town during the 80s and early 90s. I remember them testing the sirens every Wednesday at noon. With the fall of...

    I live in the greater Seattle metro area, in the US. We used to have sirens all over town during the 80s and early 90s. I remember them testing the sirens every Wednesday at noon. With the fall of the Soviet Union, those all ended up going away.

    Nowadays, we have a series of sirens that they installed in the port. We're at high risk for lahars from Mount Rainier, so these sirens are all over in the ports of Seattle & Tacoma, as well as in the Puyallup and Duwamish River valleys. There's something like a million+ people in the direct path of one, so these are a part of the volcano evacuation system. If one goes off, you have (depending on your location) anywhere from 10 to 60 minuets to GTFO.

    I don't know about up in the valleys, but in the port areas, the sirens get tested on the first Monday of the month, at noon.

    1 vote
  13. macinjosh
    Link
    In my part of Colorado some towns have them. Most do not. Though I remember in the ‘90s one very small rural town where I lived in Colorado had a siren that would call when the voluntary fire...

    In my part of Colorado some towns have them. Most do not. Though I remember in the ‘90s one very small rural town where I lived in Colorado had a siren that would call when the voluntary fire department was needed. It signaled to the fire fighters, sleeping in their homes, that they were needed and should wake up.

    1 vote
  14. [2]
    json
    Link
    Yep, Auckland has some Tsunami sirens. https://www.aucklandemergencymanagement.org.nz/useful-information#tsunami-warning-sirens There probably isn't any other siren and the Civil Defence has been...

    Yep, Auckland has some Tsunami sirens.

    https://www.aucklandemergencymanagement.org.nz/useful-information#tsunami-warning-sirens

    There probably isn't any other siren and the Civil Defence has been testing the use of mobile based alerts that show up as Presidential Alert on many phones.

    1 vote
    1. emdash
      Link Parent
      Oh, you're Auckland based! I guess Queenstown could technically be vulnerable to a seiche? haha

      Oh, you're Auckland based! I guess Queenstown could technically be vulnerable to a seiche? haha

  15. unknown user
    Link
    I am sure we have them in Istanbul, but I have never heard them tested. I'm having a vague memory of me hearing them go in my childhood, but quite possibly it is some sort of illusion going on in...

    I am sure we have them in Istanbul, but I have never heard them tested. I'm having a vague memory of me hearing them go in my childhood, but quite possibly it is some sort of illusion going on in my head.

    We are generally safe here, but a construction boom is has eaten up lots of area where earth and fauna was exposed around the city, and now we have serious flooding issues which I think are related to it. There is also the occasional tanker crashing into a seaside villa around Bosphorus. So we don't really have anything that requires sirens except maybe a war, AFAIK.

    1 vote