emergency siren toronto

Toronto is testing emergency sirens this weekend and they will be loud

Don't be afraid of the scary-sounding emergency sirens blaring through east Toronto this weekend — it's only a test. A rather jarring test, but an important one.

The City of Toronto just announced that a group called the Toronto East Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TE CAER) will be conducting a test of its "community siren system" on Saturday, July 24, at 5 p.m.

"Residents and businesses in Scarborough-Guildwood and Scarborough-Rouge Park, located within one kilometre of the sirens, should expect to hear the siren testing," warned the city in a release issued Thursday.

"Depending on the weather conditions, the siren may be heard beyond these boundaries."

City officials say that the siren will make a "whoop, whoop" (that's the sound of da police) noise for two minutes straight, followed by five minutes of silence.

After the five minutes of quiet is up, they'll issue a "monotone sound" for one minute to indicate that all is clear.

Hard as authorities may be trying to give the community advance notice, there will undoubtedly be some people — and many animals — who have no idea that a test is taking place.

"For any of our new neighbours and friends who may have different lived experience, please share with them that this is only a test," asked Toronto Police on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

While not ideal for people living in Toronto's east end, the city explains that it's actually pretty important... and mandated by the province. 

"The community siren system is designed to warn residents and businesses in the unlikely event of a chemical emergency. Testing of the community siren system satisfies provincial requirements, ensures operation of the system, and increases public awareness," reads the release.

"The 'whooping' tone is a siren warning that will be activated in the event of an actual chemical incident requiring emergency notification of businesses, schools and residents within the vicinity."

This is not the first time officials have tested these emergency sirens — in fact, the testing is said to be done quarterly. You can hear what the sirens sound like right here if you, like many other people, are discovering this fact for the first time today.

Lead photo by

sssteve.o!


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