GENEVA, Switzerland – Get ready to rumble! The annual Swiss emergency alert system testing takes place today (the first Wednesday of February) from 13:30 to 14:30. With almost 8,000 high power sirens going off at once for two hours —116 sirens alone in canton Geneva— this is a sound you won’t soon forget.
If you are new to the city and are unsure what it sounds like, well, it goes something like this,
According to the Confederation’s Department of Civil Protection:
At 1.30 p.m. the “General Alarm” signal is sounded across Switzerland, it lasts for one minute, and is repeated once after a two-minute interval for up to two hours.
From 2.15 p.m. to 3 p.m. (at the latest), the “Water-Level Indicator Alarm” signal is tested in areas near dams. It consists of twelve low but continuous sirens lasting twenty seconds, repeating at ten-second intervals.
In addition to the 119 alarms that will go off at once, in some “buildings where a large number of occupants reside, additional alarms are triggered and instructions are issued”.
Testing of the Geneva Water-Level Indicator Alarms near the Verbois and Chancy-Pougny dams will also take place, albeit but not necessarily today, indicated cantonal authorities.
Remember. This is a test. You are not required to do anything at all.
Should this alarm be activated at any other time, here is what you are supposed to do:
- If at home: Tune in radio, close doors and windows; check with/on your neighbors;
- If in a vehicle: Tune in radio, stop the ventilation system, close the windows;
- If in the street: look for shelter.
As the Chapulín Colorado, the great Mexican comedian who recently passed away would have it: ¡Que no Panda el Cúnico!
Get your earplugs ready and get ready to rumble!