Civil Defense Sirens (TGIF)

The City of Sacramento tests its civil defense sirens on the last Friday of each calendar month.


No idea if they intend to use them for anything other than announcing to the citizens, “Hey, it’s the last Friday of the month!”

In 2005, the guy running the test said he didn’t know why the city still does it.


I was in Five Points once (older shopping district in town) when they decided to test the sirens, which nobody within a block of me had ever heard before. We thought the Russians had come, possibly with spaceships.

When I was growing up in Atlanta, GA back in the middle part of the 20th century, they ‘tested’ the CD sirens every Wednesday at noon.
Since we were all frightened that WW3 was about to occur, I thought of the siren as a weekly reminder of my coming death.

Ah…those were the days.

They’re used as tornado sirens in my part of the world. There’s one about a 100 yards from my office window. Unfortunately, the people in charge of the damn thing are either testing or upgrading it, and it’s been going off randomly all week. As a respected member of the bar, I can’t really blow it up with a grenade launcher or anything. Not that I have a grenade launcher. But if I did, the temptation would be difficult to resist.

Around here in the Chicago suburbs, they use them to alert you when a tornado has been spotted in the area. My husband and I stand out on the porch and listen to figure out whether it’s our suburb or a neighboring one - and from which direction - to gauge whether it’s worth the bother to go in the basement or not. (It hasn’t ever been.)

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, not far from the air raid siren that had been built at what was then the northwest edge of the city. By the time I came along in the 70’s, they no longer bothered testing it, but it would occasionally go off during an extreme cold snap. There was nothing like being woken from a sound sleep to the sound of that siren.

They eventually took it down (in the late 80’s, I think) and I doubt most people who live in the neighbourhood now even remember it was there.

Yep, here in my part of Kansas they test the tornado sirens at noon on the first day of every month. I think they hold off on the testing if the weather looks ominous that day, so that people don’t freak out when the sirens go off.

Yup, tested every Friday at noon. And used for tornados.

Actually, my town has a multi-million dollar bond up to replace the sirens & system with something that’s not 40 years old. So far the only arguments have been things like where new sirens should go, which should be replaced first, etc.

We like our sirens, yes we do.

Ours is done every Wednesday at 3 o’clock…just about the time we’re leaving my little girl’s therapy session. There must be dozens of them in the city of Memphis.

I try to get to the car and turn the music up because it scares her. One day we got out early so we were in a Walmart parking lot right across from one of the siren towers.
So loud it hurt my teeth and my poor daughter was out of her head hysterical by the time we got into the building.

We don’t care for the tests, no sir.

But they sure do seem to save lives when bad weather strikes.

I downloaded a ring-tone for my cell phone that is that civil defense / air raid / tornado siren. I thought it was cool but my co-workers complained about it because it “made them nervous”. I had to remove it.

In the Air Force we have a similar system called the Giant Voice System (I call it the Disembodied Omnipresent Voice, because I’m a nerd). Everybody in the Air Force can recite the “Lightning has been sighted within Five miles of the Lackland Air Force Base Facility” message the voice would boom out over the entire base.

Some of my friends and I joked that it would also alert us to the presence of Ninjas within five miles.

But yeah, it has a couple of tones that it uses as audio warnings for natural disasters or enemy attacks (different kinds of tones; for tornados, it’s the same long droning siren)

Few weekends ago, I was at my fiance’s parents house out in BFE Kansas, and I was lounging on the couch when the siren went off. I looked up, looked around, and waited to see if anybody else bolted for the stairs to the basement (best tornado shelter evar: TV, Nintendo Wii, Pool table, and fully stocked bar in their basement.)

They should change the siren to this.

In Chicago they test at 10 AM on the first Tuesday of every month. In the 60s it was every week.

As I posted last year on September 22:

Ours are tested every Monday morning at 10 AM. Even before the F4 a few years ago, we didn’t complain about them. Too many other times they have been useful.

The sirens here in Charleston WV are tested on the last Weds of each month at noon. Hubby tells me that they’re used in case a major chemical leak happens. First time I heard 'em go off, I was scared shitless because no one had told me that they went off on that particular Weds.

Pardon my ignorance, but why do those sirens need testing every week or month?

In Sacramento, I guess it’s to ensure they work in case anyone ever comes up with a use for them.

I can’t hear an air-raid siren anymore without thinking I’m about to enter the Otherworld of Silent Hill.

Because finding out they don’t work correctly during a disaster is a bad thing.

We must protect ourselves from the godless tornadoes. Citizens, arm yourselves.