There’s something very exciting that happens at noon every Saturday in Austria – and if you’re lucky enough to be near a fire station at the time… well all the more excitement for you!
The first time it happened my first thought was that war had broken out. Because every Saturday at 12, the fire stations test their sirens.
But yesterday it got even more exhilarating – because the first Saturday in October is THE ANNUAL NATIONAL SIREN TEST!
Hold onto your hats people!
The standard, weekly siren test is simply a single tone, about 15 seconds in duration. The freaky thing is that it sounds exactly like all the air raid sirens you hear in war movies – which is not so strange, because it was used for exactly that.
But on the first Saturday in October, it’s time for the full test, and living right near a fire station, we are lucky enough to experience the full concert in surround sound.
They still run the normal test at 12, but then they go through the full test – this would happen in the event of a real emergency. The first sound is to alert people there is danger imminent – get inside, turn on the TV or radio and stayed tuned. The second is the scary one – this means you should take cover because shit is getting real. And the third one – this is the good one – letting everyone know that the danger has passed.
I hope I never hear it other than in a test scenario.
In our small town, the siren (test siren repeated three times in a row) is used as an alert, calling all the local volunteer fire fighters to the station in times of trouble. From road accidents, to storm damage, to flooding of roads and houses, whenever we’re hiding from bad weather safe and tucked up inside, they’re out working hard.
Living among rivers and mountains frequented by heavy rain and lightning strikes, our fire fighters have a tough job – and although this post is a little tongue-in-cheek – I’m so thankful for those that get out there and allow me to enjoy my safe and happy existence.