Outdoor Public Warning System

What is the OPWS for?

The City’s Outdoor Public Warning System is designed to alert residents and visitors of San Francisco about possible danger. Specific emergency announcements can be broadcast over any one (or more) of the 109 sirens which are located on poles and on top of buildings throughout all neighborhoods in San Francisco, Treasure Island, and Yerba Buena.

Why do the sirens go off every Tuesday?

They are tested at noon every Tuesday. During the weekly test, the siren emits a single 15 second alert tone, similar to an emergency vehicle siren. In the event of a disaster, the 15 second alert tone will sound repeatedly for 5 minutes

What if I hear the siren at another time?

If you hear the siren at a time other than its regular test on Tuesday at noon:

  • Stop what you are doing.
  • Stay calm.
  • Listen for possible voice announcements.
  • Turn on the radio or television, (such as KCBS 740AM, KQED 88.5 FM) for important information provided by the City.
  • Avoid using the telephone. Do not call 9-1-1, unless you have a life-threatening emergency.

On rare occasion, special tests are done on other than Tuesday at noon - we will make every effort to inform the public of the date and time before these tests occur.

Do you know where YOUR siren is?

Download the map of Siren locations here (PDF) NEW - As of August 2013
Download the list of Siren locations here (PDF)

Then let us know how well YOUR siren is working!

You can help improve the OPWS!

If you are an Amateur Radio Operator, you can check in to Siren Net and give us a report of what you hear during the test. This net is conducted by the Auxiliary Communications Service every Tuesday. It starts just before noon, and check-in with reports begins after the sirens sound at noon.  All licensed Amateur Radio Operators are welcome to participate. The net runs on the linked UHF/VHF repeaters owned by the George S. Ladd Telephone Pioneers: 443.100+ tone 114.8 and 146.790- tone 114.8.

Net controls: please use this PDF document as a sample script for conducting the Siren Net (Siren Net Script.pdf NEW - As of Decmeber 2013), and use this excel form to submit your Siren Net log (Siren Net log Form Template.xls).

If you do not have an Amateur Radio License, we have another way for you to report the weekly test of your siren - SurveyMonkey!  This link will take you to the survey form to report your siren performance (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/opwsreport).

 updated 2013-09-23