Air Raid Sirens
March 2, 2004 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Air Raid Sirens.
posted by hama7 (22 comments total)
Classic. Thanks, hama7!

I liked these the best.
posted by carter at 2:40 PM on March 2, 2004

posted by sklero at 2:42 PM on March 2, 2004

and that Federal 500AT, that's one helluva siren. Damn.
posted by sklero at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2004

Stuff like this is still heard out here in the prairies. They test the weather siren here once a month, and I've heard it going off for particularly nasty thunderstorms a few times.

Noisy, it is, and very air-raidy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:52 PM on March 2, 2004

Your Air-Raid-Siren-fetish weirdness flat out gives me the creeps.
posted by angry modem at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2004

totally awesome, but how are we supposed to start an argument about this?
posted by badstone at 3:23 PM on March 2, 2004

great post! great way to make hairs stand up on the back of your neck ... at least some of us.
posted by tomplus2 at 3:28 PM on March 2, 2004

actually, it makes me think of lunch.
posted by badstone at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2004

The sirens at the university I attended went off one day. Very, very few people had even the foggiest clue what they were all about.

Me, I was a little tense for the time they were wailing. Surely it must be a mistake... but, still, one would hate to find out.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:59 PM on March 2, 2004

"Actually, it makes me think of lunch."

Me, too. There ought to be enough people around here to understand why, but all will be revealed for the rest.
posted by majick at 4:28 PM on March 2, 2004

Simply awesome. Time to mix up some spooky ambient or downtempo.
posted by loquacious at 5:17 PM on March 2, 2004

posted by carter at 5:28 PM on March 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

it's like riding a roller coaster. just queue them all up in a row! the fun never stops.
posted by clockwork at 6:24 PM on March 2, 2004

I'm in the tornado zone and have an air raid siren about a block away. Like ROU, they test it about once a month, for about 15 minutes at a time. Scared me to death the first time it even the dog knows the schedule.

I certainly hope we never get a tornado on the first wednesday of a month at about noon...
posted by dejah420 at 6:26 PM on March 2, 2004

Once, long ago, I was an exchange student in a small village in the Black Forest. I had skipped school one day - I had already finished school in New Zealand, and I didn't see much point.

So I'm sitting at home, when suddenly a god awful siren goes off. It echoes up and down the whole valley.

It's 1986, and Russian SS-20's are a threatening presence in everyone's minds. My mind has been prepared by forced screenings of "The Day After" at school. So I hide in the cellar, convinced that at 16, my life is over.

ABout half an hour later, when I'm starting to get hungry, my host-mother comes home to cook lunch. "Oh that. It's a practise. Every 4th Tuesday." Oh how we laughed.

Incidentally, my late mother remembered the Battle of Britain, and used to freak out if she ever heard an air raid siren in a movie or tv programme.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:39 PM on March 2, 2004

You'd think the Russkies would, you know, be smart enough to fire those SS-20s on the 4th Tuesday, then. Which makes the entire point of the sirens entirely moot.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:10 PM on March 2, 2004

Oddly enough, fff, that joke was made at the time.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:59 PM on March 2, 2004

Not surprisingly, Honolulu has a very healthy air raid siren network, which they test monthly. They go off on first workday of the month at 11:45 a.m., accompanied by a civil defense broadcast that commandeers nearly all radio frequencies in town.

Like dejah420, we all hope that the next air attack isn't scheduled for 11:45 a.m. on the first workday of the month.

Even as a monthly ritual, it's slightly disconcerting, especially if you have a bank of these yellow monsters within a stone's throw of your residence. The first test after 9/11 was particularly eerie.
posted by pzarquon at 11:07 PM on March 2, 2004

[this is good]
Talk about magnificent obsessions!
posted by dg at 11:37 PM on March 2, 2004

[This is excellent]
posted by soundofsuburbia at 5:33 AM on March 3, 2004

I hail from the swirly storm zone, too, and I've lived with once-monthly tests all my life except the part I spent in New York. In fact, my city just now replaced its sirens: formerly a battery of small horns facing six ways to Sunday, now they'll be one large horn on a rotating base, which promises to make a much cooler rise-and-fade sound. (For the transition, each new one stands next to the other, making an oddly vigilant sight.) Around these parts, similar (more rural) sirens are used to summon volunteer firemen; friends of mine were across the street from such a fire department and it would go off regularly. You just sort of ... got used to it. I never could. I always thought one of the best scenes in The Day After was the time that the Emergency Broadcast Service came in on the radio ... and this time it was real.

A classic story is how Chicago's fire commissioner ordered the air raid sirens to sound when the White Sox won the NL pennant.

Between the Cold War and 9/11, the civil-defense uses of sirens deteriorated, it has been said, and not all weather/disaster sirens are hooked into the National Warning System [Civil Defense Warning System]. (It was never as automatic as we assumed it must have been, growing up, and now that there's actually a digital Emergency Alert System, there's still a lot of interconnection to be done.)
posted by dhartung at 1:13 AM on March 4, 2004

Trumps of Death, signaling the end of civilization. Time to kiss your ass goodbye. I wrote a poem about it when I was a kid. I lived a block from the local siren. 1pm first Saturday of each month was the test. Steady tone for weather warning, oscillating for air-raid.

It is so nice to no longer live in continual fear of the big bombs. Something else to fear these days.

Fascinating site, love the recordings.
posted by Goofyy at 2:35 AM on March 4, 2004

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