Every first Saturday of the month, at noon, warning sirens are tested across the country, startling unprepared visitors and even some prepared ones to jump to their feet and get ready to run for cover.
Although such sirens are rarely used other than for testing, they were used for real in Maribor last week, announcing the beginning and ending of any danger during the evacuation time when two WWII bombs were being deactivated last Thursday and Sunday.
There are three siren tones used in the whole country (and two local ones), and what they are is often explained on old posters that are hanging from the walls of apartment buildings, where they are rarely even noticed. If you happen to take a closer look, this is what you’d see:
So, the three siren tones used across the country are the following:
WARNING: a two-minute long steady sound of a siren is used to warn of the impending danger of a fire, flood, environmental or other disaster. Citizens are supposed to turn on radios or TVs and check with the national broadcaster (Radio Slovenija 1, Val 202/ TV Slovenija 1 or 2) for more information. Whether or not you can now get such information on the national broadcaster’s website as well is not mentioned anywhere in the published material.
IMMEDIATE DANGER: a one-minute wailing tone is used to warn of the immediate danger of a major fire, flood, radiological and chemical threat or air raid. Citizens are supposed to turn on radios or TVs and check with the national broadcaster (Radio Slovenija 1, Val 202/ TV Slovenija 1 or 2) for more information.
ALL CLEAR sound: the last one on the list and the first tone mentioned in this story is the 30-second steady sound of a siren, used for the Saturday siren tests as well as at the end of an emergency for which the immediate danger signal was sounded. As the image suggests, you can relax and continue watching TV.
For more information on the subject, which includes samples of the sounds described above, please visit the English website of the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief.