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Back to Civil Defense Museum Main

A Civil Defense Museum wouldn't be complete without a section on warning sirens. During the cold war virtually every city had a siren warning system to warn citizens of a coming nuclear attack. Today, cities that are regularly threatened with natural disasters (tornados, floods etc.) are still using outdoor siren systems. Most of the sirens that were intended for attack warning only have been taken down or are rusting away pitifully at the top of their poles.


Thunderbolt Collage

Sonnesyn Elementary School Federal Thunderbolt 1003 Videos
Matt Preston of Minnesota sent me these two videos of the Thunderbolt 1003 on top of HO Sonnesyn Elementary School in New Hope Minnesota.
He shot the video during an evening test (6:55 pm) so the video is a somewhat dark but the audio really captures the sound of the Thunderbolt siren. I've never heard of a town doing an evening test. The videos are Divx Avi files so I think you will need the Divx codec to view them. The first video is the first half of the test with the siren doing an alert signal. The second half is the second half of the test with the siren doing an attack signal. Sorry no hi-lo signal. Thanks Matt for the vids! Videos are 3 Mb in size.



Click Photo To See Larger

Siren Sounds
These files are in MP3 format and are about 400Kb to 1MB in size.

Federal Signal Thunderbolt 1000 Valley View, Texas.
Here are a couple of recordings of the Valley View Texas Thunderbolt siren. I have a page covering the hook-up and overhaul of this siren here.
Valley View Thunderbolt 1000 Alert Signal File Size 800kb
Valley View Thunderbolt 1000 Attack Signal File Size 930kb

Alerting Communicators of America - Hurricane 130 MKII, Garland, Texas Fire Station. Hurricane Picture
I had never heard one these until May, 2 2002 when I made this recording. I was really impressed! They ran it for 2, one minute alert cycles about 3 minutes apart during their montly test.This siren was removed and sold at auction in late 2004. See photos of it here on the ACA Siren Page.
This recording is of the first one minute cycle.
ACA Hurricane in Alert Signal. Steady Tone. 1st part of test.


Recordings Of The Old Allen, Texas Siren System
The City of Allen would run their old sirens for a 3 minute test. 1 min. steady tone, 1 min. off, 1 min "Attack" (on-off, wavering signal). I split each set of test recordings up into the first minute and the last minute of the test respectively.

American Signal - T-135. Allen Texas, Fire Station Number 2 Monthly Test.T135 Icon
This siren was located about a mile from my house. This is probably the creepiest siren I have ever heard. It has the weird of quality of sounding like two completely different sirens starting up a the same time. I'm sure going to miss this monster.This siren was removed and sold at auction in late 2004. See the removal here.
American Signal T-135 Steady Tone 1st part of test. File Size 1.8Mb
American Signal T-135 Attack Signal (Recording cut short due to passing truck.) File Size 800KB

Federal Signal - 2t22. Allen Texas, Story Elem. School. Monthly Test.2t22 little picture
The 2t22 is probably the nicest sounding of all the mechanical sirens. This siren was removed and sold at auction in late 2004.
Federal 2t22 Alert Signal. Steady Tone. 1st part of test.
Federal 2t22 Attack Signal. 2nd part of test.

Sentry Siren 20V2T. Allen, Texas Boyd Elem. School. Monthly Test. Sentry Siren Boyd Elem School Allen TX
Scott Yarberry at Sentry Siren instantly replied to my question about this siren. He said there were only about 50 of these square horn models made in the early to mid 1980s. They discontinued the square horns and went to the round horn design because the round horns are much simpler to manufacture. This siren was removed and sold at auction in late 2004.
Sentry in Alert Signal. Steady Tone. 1st part of test.
Sentry in Attack Signal. Wavering Tone. End of test.
Federal Thunderbolt 1000T. Allen, Texas Main Fire Station. Monthly Test.Allen Fire Station Thunderbolt Siren
This siren was removed and sold at auction in late 2004.
Thunderbolt in Alert Signal. Steady Tone. 1st part of test.
Thunderbolt in Attack Signal. Wavering Tone. End of test.


Grayson County, Texas, Airport Fire Department Siren.   Grayson Co Airport Siren
The fire personnel at the Grayson County airport were good enough to run up their siren for a short blast for me to record. I'm not sure what type of siren this is. I think it is a Federal Model 3 or 5. It has a slow wind up and the coast down went on for at least 2 minutes. I faded it out at the end since it was just going on and on. You can hear a plane revving it's engine toward the end of the clip.
Short blast of Grayson County Airport Siren