Emergency Alarm Sirens in The Netherlands – No One told me about it!

Published on 4 December 2018 at 13:21

Emergency Alarm Sirens in The Netherlands –
No One told me about it!


Can You remember the 1st time you heard the Dutch Emergency Sirens? I can remember, I was having my coffee in the veranda in our Amsterdam house when I first heard it… like a scared cat, I jumped and ran in our bedroom, crawled under the blanket and immediately called my husband with huge fear I will not see him again…. Lovely man just apologetically laughed at me for forgetting this part of My Netherlands Integration. An important one to know, especially if you have a heart problem or pregnant or just the nervous type.

There are approximately 3,800 public warning sirens in the Netherlands. They are all operated by local public authorities. If there is an emergency in the area where you live, the local siren will be activated to sound a warning. It is regularly tested to check that they are working properly and is important for everyone to know the difference between the test signal and the emergency signal.

When are the public warning sirens tested?
All over the Netherlands, the public warning sirens are tested at exactly 12.00 noon on the first Monday of every month. The siren sounds for 1 minute and 26 seconds without interruption.
This is a test signal so there is nothing to worry about.

The NL-Alert via SMS is also sent out as a part of public warning test. You will receive NL-Alert on your mobile. Most of the modern mobile phones can have this feature activated, if you haven’t you can go to the step-by-step instruction on how to activate this feature on your mobile phone.
If you need assistance to have this done, feel free to contact us. 
More information about the NL-Alert can be found HERE.
Moreover, the Dutch Public Alarm Systems are never tested on a national or religious holiday or Remembrance Day, even if they fall on the first Monday in the month.

How Do I know it’s not a test? What do I do???
If you are hearing the siren at any other time and day than Monday and 12 o’clock then it’s not a test. If the siren sounds repeatedly, it means that there is an emergency. Read through to know what you have to do;
> Get yourself into safety by going indoors immediately, close all doors and windows
> if you are in a car, find a building/structure and leave your car immediately. If that is not possible – stay inside the car and close all window and ventilation and air conditioning systems.
> How about my kids??? If they are in the school, leave them there (we know this is a hard thought). But in emergency situations, schools are the most equipped to protect your kids and the teachers are trained for all kinds of emergency situations.
> (If you know your shelter is safe) Offer help to others.
> Listen to radio, the Dutch Government will inform the public the exact situation and what is your next steps. For nationwide emergency, tune in to NPO Radio1 & NPO 1.

For Almere residents, you can tune into Omroep Flevoland at Radio Frequency 89,8. This is the full list of Emergency Radio Frequenties based on your location.

It is also handy to have an Emergency Pack ready in your house and in your car. To request your emergency packing list, leave a comment below.

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Ranessa Krause
5 years ago

This is very handy.