Siren Civil Defence
(photo via Wikimedia Commons)

If you heard some strange noises coming from the direction of CFB Esquimalt today, you can rest assured that it’s nothing to be alarmed about.

At 11 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, the naval base undergoes a test of its mass notification system.

The test only takes about a minute, but people new to the area may not be familiar with the strange noises.

Installed in February 2015, the mass notification system can be used to issue tsunami evacuation notices, warn of hazardous materials emergencies or alert people to security or environmental threats.

Speakers are located at CFB Esquimalt in the Dockyard, Naden, and Work Point. Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) says that the system may eventually be expanded to other properties in Colwood, Albert Head and Rocky Point.

(map via Military Family Resource Centre Esquimalt)

During testing, two tones are used: the “test tone” and the “all-clear tone.”

Here are audio files of what those sound like:

Test tone:


All-clear tone (similar to the classic Westminster chime):

So if you heard those sounds earlier: do not be alarmed. It was only a test.

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