Public Emergency Sirens Will Screech Across Montreal This Week

Don't freak out, this is a test and only a test.
Public siren

If you happen to still be in the office or are already relaxing at home by 4:30 p.m. this week, get ready to be jarred awake. Nine Montreal factories will be testing their public alert sirens from October 10 to 13 throughout the evenings.

Multiple boroughs across the city will be affected depending on their proximity to one of the nine factories. Each alert siren cycle will last at least three minutes. And there could be more than just one alert at every site. 

That could be a whole lot of alerts. To see what areas will be affected, click here

The test, coordinated by the Montreal Civil Security Center and the Montreal Fire Department, is used to educate the public in the case of a toxic product leak. 

This isn't anything new to Montreal. The tests have been performed annually for a few years now to publicize the risks and behaviours people who live in those sectors must adopt. The only difference this year is timing. 

"For the occasion, prevention officers from the Montreal Fire Department will visit the areas targeted by the sirens of warnings test in order to answer the questions of the population, validate their understanding and evaluate the effectiveness of the test as a means of awareness, "said Rosannie Filato, Public Safety Officer on the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal.

Sirens can be heard from a radius of 1½ kilometers and are linked to the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal (SIM) and the 911 emergency centre. But not everyone will hear the alerts.

Ville de Montreal

Radio and televsion alerts will also go out, which begs the question, who has cable these days? Because unless I'm alerted by Netflix that is not going to work. 

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So what should we do in the case of a real emergency toxic leak warning? The city's catchphrase makes it pretty easy, "At the sound of the siren, everyone take shelter!" And follow these steps:

  • Enter quickly into the nearest building

  • Close doors and windows and ventilation

  • Do not to pick up children at school so as not to put oneself in danger

  • Avoid the phones, keep lines open for emergency personel

This drill aims to make sure that all sirens are working correctly and assess the state of preparedness of all emergency first responders. Attached below is a pamphlet to help people understand what actions to take in the event of a major industrial accident.

If you want to read more about what to do in case of a real emergency, here's a handy pamphlet

For more information and a map on the sites and boroughs that will be testing, click here