An emergency would use a wailing siren to prompt the public to seek emergency evacuation or shelter-in-place information via AC Alert or city’s emergency map.
If you are outdoors at noon on Sunday, September 17, listen for a series of chimes being broadcast followed by a voice message – a soft test of Berkeley’s new system that notifies those outdoors to seek information about an evacuation or shelter-in-place underway.
When you hear these sounds, you can practice what you’d need to do in an actual emergency: check Berkeley’s emergency map for updates and check your phone to see if you received an alert from the city’s free, subscription-based emergency notification system.
The notification system, AC Alert, would guide people to the actions they need to take. The emergency map provides neighborhood-specific guidance updated in real-time by first responders. (On Sunday, subscribers will receive an AC Alert email about the test. In an emergency, you would also receive phone alerts via text and voice messaging.)
Knowing how to get to the City’s emergency map and subscribing to AC Alert prepares you to get critical information in an emergency – when the warning system would use a long, wailing siren instead of chimes.
This first test of the warning system is intended to help our Office of Emergency Services better understand the reach of the first ten sirens currently installed and gauge the community’s reaction to siren tests.
Help us understand more about this soft test. Whether you heard the siren or not, please fill out our survey any time after 12:05 pm on September 17.
Warning system flexible for a variety of disasters
Atop buildings across Berkeley – from the Marina to the hills, from south to north – the system is intended to be another layer of notification, reaching people outdoors.
The goal is to amplify – and guide people to – the principal emergency tools while being flexible enough to respond to a variety of different disasters, be it a tsunami or wildfire.
To date, ten sirens have been installed. Five more are projected to be installed by early 2024.
Should you hear the actual siren wail, being able to quickly get emergency information will be critical to taking the right actions for the disaster at hand.