Siren warning tests will take place throughout Bavaria on Thursday the 12th of May 2022. The sirens start wailing at 11:00 a.m. to test the functionality of the sirens.
Siren warning tests: A siren warning test is a test alarm that serves to check the functionality of the siren warning system and to draw the public’s attention to the importance of the siren signal. In areas that are particularly at risk or in the vicinity of facilities with particular risk potential, the population is not only warned with radio announcements, but also with sirens and loudspeaker vehicles. In this way, the population is warned, for example, when airborne pollutants are released. In addition, the test alarm is intended to inform the population about the importance of siren warnings. Warnings are also sent via various warning apps such as NINA.
Ordinance on Public Sound Signals – Siren warning tests
With the Ordinance on Public Sound Signals, Bavaria has defined the meaning of the siren signals used in Bavaria for the sirens warning tests
The main siren signals are:
1. Siren signals with a continuous tone
Alarm in the event of fire and other emergencies (three constant-pitched tones (continuous tone) of 12 seconds each, with a 12-second pause between each tone)
This signal is intended to alert the fire brigade and to warn the population in the event of fire and other emergencies, which is used to alert the emergency services of the fire brigade.
Listen to the siren below:
2. General warning sound
This is a dissemination alarm (rising and falling howl of 1-minute duration).
It is intended to prompt the population to pay attention to radio announcements in the event of serious dangers to public safety.
Listen to the siren below:
Depending on the region, the following prompts apply when the warning tone sounds:
- turn on the radios
- to pay attention to the announcements
- Close windows and doors immediately
- Avoid spending time outdoors
The one-minute, uninterrupted continuous tone is widely regarded as the all-clear.
In areas where there are sirens to warn the population, information about the siren signals and their meaning is usually provided from time to time in brochures or on the websites of the responsible authorities.
In addition, a nationwide siren test alarm takes place twice a year, in which every municipality that has the appropriate sirens can participate. In addition to the function test, this siren test alarm also serves to inform the public about the importance of the siren signal in preparation for radio announcements.
Germany does not have a connected civil defense siren network
Since the civil defense siren network was dismantled, there are no longer any uniform signals in Germany. Each federal state has its regulations and signals, which are planned and implemented by the state’s civil protection authorities.
Only a few large cities have a system that reaches the population on a large scale. These include:
- The NINA warning app warned of floods in Germany, but unfortunately too few people had the app installed before the floods
Cities, districts and municipalities decide for themselves
However, after various catastrophic events, some cities set up a network again. In some cases, districts and municipalities are allowed to determine the exact meaning of the signals and when the signals are triggered. A very different picture emerges nationwide. Districts and municipalities are often also responsible for the function tests and define their test cycles here.
For example, the city of Düsseldorf tests its systems once a year, while Dresden tests quarterly. In regions of Bavaria, the systems installed in the inhabited areas around nuclear power plants are tested every six months.
FUN FACT: Who Invented the Siren?
The siren was invented by the Scottish mathematician and physicist John Robison in the late 18th century. Robison, of course, used his invention for organs and did not give it a name. A few years later, in 1819, the French physicist Charles Cagniard de la Tour also developed a device that made it possible to generate high-frequency sounds mechanically. Charles Cagniard de la Tour called his invention the siren. He derived the name from a mythical creature from Greek mythology. According to legend, the siren lured passing sailors with her beguiling singing in order to kill them. Of course, the modern mechanical siren had exactly the opposite function – namely to warn of natural disasters, fire or enemy attacks.