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Civil Defense Siren - Grant & Wilmot - Tucson, AZ
Posted by: AZTech
N 32° 15.006 W 110° 51.486
12S E 513366 N 3568166
Quick Description: A relic of the Cold War
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 5/25/2012 9:03:02 PM
Waymark Code: WMEG6Z
During the Cold War, almost all major US cities had civil defense sirens to warn of an impending nuclear attack. This was especially true for cities like Tucson, which was a major target not only because of nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, but because it was ringed by an installation of 18 Titan II Missile Silos for nearly 25 years.
: "Sirens began to replace bells for municipal warning in the early 1900s, but became commonplace following America's entry into World War II. Most siren models of this time were single-tone models which often sounded almost an octave higher in pitch than their European counterparts. Dual-tone sirens became more common in the 1950s, but have been used in some areas since about 1915. During the Cold War, standard signals were used throughout the country for civil defense purposes, referred to as "alert" and "attack."
Today, signals are determined by state and local authorities and can vary from one region to another. The most common tones produced by sirens in the United States are "Alert" (Steady) and "Attack"(Wail). The U.S. Federal standard regarding air raid signals is defined in FEMA's Outdoor Warning Systems Guide, CPG 1-17, published on 01-March-1980, which describes the Civil Defense Warning System (CDWS) and its warning signals. The language was slightly revised by FEMA's National Warning System Operations Manual, Manual 1550.2 published 2001-03-30:
- Attack Warning — A 3 to 5 minute wavering tone on sirens or a series of short blasts on horns or other devices. The Attack Warning signal means detection of an actual attack or accidental missile launch. Take protective action immediately. The Attack Warning will be repeated as often as deemed necessary by local government authorities to obtain the required response by the population, including taking protective action related to the arrival of fallout. This signal will have no other meaning and will be used for no other purpose.
- Attention or Alert Warning — A 3 to 5 minute steady signal from sirens, horns, or other devices. Local government officials may authorize use of this signal to alert the public of peacetime emergencies. Besides any other meaning or requirement for action as determined by local government officials, the Attention or Alert signal will indicate to all persons in the United States, "Turn on your radio or television and listen for essential emergency information".
- A third distinctive signal may be used for other purposes, such as a local fire signal.
- No all-clear signal is defined by either document.
- CPG 1-17 recommends that a monthly test be conducted, consisting of the steady Attention signal for no more than one minute, one minute of silence, followed by the Attack signal for no more than one minute."
I recall hearing the monthly siren tests as a kid and am thankful I never heard anything more than the one minute Attention signal.
The last siren I recall seeing before it was removed was located on Broadway near Rosemont, which was the later Thunderbolt 1000 type, while the one at this location appears to be a Federal Signal SD-10.
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