(KRON) — Berkeley will perform its first citywide test of the Outdoor Warning System Emergency Sirens on Sunday, September 17, at noon.

A network of sirens was introduced by the Berkeley Fire Department earlier this year. They are designed to alert people outdoors to life-threatening emergencies, such as wildfires and tsunamis.

Specific emergency announcements can be broadcast from sirens located on top of 15 buildings. Outdoor Warning System test messages use a 3-tone chime. Real emergency messages, like the fire evacuation alert, use a wailing tone, according to city officials. You can listen to the chimes and wailing tones here.

When you hear a siren wail and it’s not a test

If you hear a siren wail, it means that people need to evacuate or take other immediate steps to protect themselves, emergency officials said. When you hear a siren wail:

  • Stop what you are doing and listen for possible voice announcements.
  • Follow the instructions provided through the voice announcement.
  • Check your phone for messages from AC Alert, Nixle, or a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and follow the instructions.
  • Check Berkeley’s Emergency Map for information about possible evacuation or shelter in place orders.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 for more information, unless you require immediate assistance from emergency responders.

What test sirens sound like

During Sunday’s test, anyone who is outdoors within a 1/4-1/2 mile range of a siren location should expect to hear a chime tone and a voice announcement.

The message transcript is as follows: 

Chimes (12 seconds)

“This is a test of the City of Berkeley Outdoor Warning System. This is only a test.”

Chimes (12 seconds)

“This is a test of the City of Berkeley Outdoor Warning System. This is only a test.”

Chimes (12 seconds)

“This concludes the test of the City of Berkeley’s Outdoor Warning System.”

(Image courtesy berkeleyfiresafe.org)

After Sunday’s test, residents are encouraged to fill out the city’s “Did You Hear It?” Siren Test Day Survey. Feedback will help emergency officials understand audibility of the siren network.

More tools and resources for alerts:

Sign up for AC Alert 

Berkeley’s Real-Time Emergency Map 

Sign up for Nixle Alerts

WarnME – U.C. Berkeley’s alert and warning system