Full-volume tsunami siren test Wednesday

Press release

Posted by
Mon, August 31, 2009


A full volume test of the coast side tsunami warning sirens is scheduled for 10am on Wednesday  

Seven sirens will be tested on Wednesday: in Princeton, El Granada and Miramar, Pescadero, Linda Mar Beach, Rockaway Beach and Sharp Park.   An eighth siren is operational in Half Moon Bay but will not be sounded during this test. 

Sirens are tested monthly for 15 seconds at low volumes at 10am on the first Wednesday of each month.  The full volume test will last about one full minute and allow the sirens to reach their peak sound level.

In an emergency, the sirens will sound continuously for several minutes.  Should this occur, people should listen to their radios (KCBS 740 AM or KQED 88.5 FM) for official information and instructions.   

The new siren units are far more sophisticated than the old "Civil Defense" sirens of decades ago.  Computer modeling was used to determine the appropriate volume for the given environment.  The sirens use computer controllers to provide constant monitoring of their vital systems.  They also incorporate "green technology" as they derive all of the power they need to operate from solar panels.


Comment 1
Tue, September 1, 2009 9:32am
Todd McGee
All my comments

Reading this article it struck me as odd that Montara doesn’t have one of these warning sirens, despite the fact that our school is the evacuation point for several areas. I guess maybe the point is that we’re high enough above sea level to not need a siren? I wrote to Rich Gordon (our County Supervisor) to ask if there were plans for Moss Beach and Montara to get the sirens and will let folks know if I get a response.

Comment 2
Tue, September 1, 2009 2:45pm
Todd McGee
All my comments

Supervisor Gordon’s office responded and explained that Montara is not deemed to be at sufficient risk to get a warning siren, we’re not a low lying area. They did tell me about a service called SMC Alert, though, whereby the sheriff’s office will send you a text message if there’s an emergency and that seems like a good thing to know about. Now if only cell phones worked better in Montara….

Comment 3
Wed, September 2, 2009 10:49am
Ellen Chiri
All my comments

We received a verbal alert from the sheriff’s office of emergency services on our land line, at 9am.

Comment 4
Thu, September 3, 2009 5:27pm
Brian Fikes
All my comments

I live in Pacifica, on Esplanade Ave., right on the ocean, and I could not hear the siren, even though I was listening for it and had no music, TV, or other sound source on. We obviously need more or louder sirens. Who can we contact to let them know the sirens don’t reach the people who need to hear them the most?