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Tri-County Siren Alarm Information for Citizens
If you grew up in the Cold-War era, you probably remember practicing "duck and cover". Bert the Turtle, a lovable cartoon character, told us of the dangers of a nuclear explosion and the best ways to protect ourselves. The "duck and cover" campaign was part of our national Civil Defense and we took it seriously indeed: we dropped to our knees and covered our eyes to protect us from the nuclear blast. We had little triangles on our radios at 1240 and 640 kHz. We knew to turn our dials to these locations for information when advised to do so. We also had sirens. The sirens were tested periodically and it was comforting to know if danger was imminent the sirens would sound. One signal warned of an immediate threat: time to "duck and cover". Another signal was a warning and we tuned to 1240 or 640 kHz for information. A third signal was the "all clear" and we knew the emergency had ended and we could breathe sigh of relief.
In parts of our country where tornadoes occur regularly, the old Civil Dense siren signals are still employed. People know when they hear the imminent danger tones, they should take cover as a tornado has been sighted. Since the end of the Cold War, the most serious threats to our area have been weather related. Unlike the tornado-prone parts of our country, our weather has allowed ample warning and sirens have not been necessary. As they say, "Times have changed."
Emergency Managers in Queen Anne’s, Caroline, & Talbot Counties have realized a need for an additional means of warning our communities of imminent danger or the need to turn on radios, televisions or computers for information. This is not because of any new threat or concern. Our communities have not been specifically targeted by any hostile force. It is hoped that the "Imminent Danger" signal will never be needed; however, it will be available should something occur. The "Warning" signal might be used when a severe weather warning is issued for the area. After Hurricane Isabel blew through the Eastern Shore, many residents felt they were not adequately warned regarding the tidal surge. The "Warning" signal will alert everyone of the need to acquire additional information. When the crisis is ended, an "All-Clear" signal will be sounded.
The "Imminent Danger" siren signal is a two minute wavering tone. The wavering tone goes up and down faster than the customary fire signal. The "Warning" signal is a two minute steady tone. A steady tone is now used for ambulance alerts but has a much shorter duration than the "Warning" signal. The "All Clear" signal is a steady, 30-second tone.
The system will be tested on the first Saturday of every month at noon by sounding the IMMINENT DANGER SIGNAL, FOLLOWED BY THE ALL-CLEAR.
If you need additional information regarding the new siren signals, please contact the Emergency Management office in your County or log onto either of the County’s web-sites. Links and contact information is listed below.
Monthly System Test
The system will be tested on the first Saturday of each month at noon by sounding the Imminent Danger Signal, for 30 seconds, followed by the All-Clear Signal.
Pay attention to these tests on the first Saturday of every month in order to familiarize yourself with how they sound so you can take appropriate action in the event of a real emergency.