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Page last updated at 08:58 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Guernsey's air raid warning sirens to be removed

Public warning siren
One of the 14 sirens is due to be kept for ceremonial use

Guernsey's public warning sirens will no longer be used as the Home Department replaces them with text messages.

The department claimed the sirens had reached the end of their useful working life.

It said the siren on Victoria Tower would be the only one of the island's 14 retained, and would be kept for ceremonial use.

The sirens were used to warn islanders of major incidents or emergencies.

The department said it was working with local telecommunications providers to send out messages to the public in the wake of a major incident or emergency to communicate critical messages to as many people in as short a time as possible.

It said it would also continue to use the island's radio stations to get messages out quickly.

'Frequent confusion'

Emergency Planning Officer Catherine Veron said: "The public warning sirens are no longer suitable for emergency planning purposes without a large investment of taxpayers' money in replacing them, as well as investment in training and exercising.

"Double glazing has reduced the effectiveness of the audio range and similar-sounding systems are in place in the quarry industry, which frequently results in confusion."

The sirens were installed in 1937 and were first used in anger on 28 June 1940 when three planes bombed St Peter Port harbour, killing 33 people.

The ceremonial uses of the sirens include Liberation Day and Remembrance Day, with a rising and falling note to signify imminent danger and the steady note of the 'all clear' marking the start and end of commemorative silences.



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SEE ALSO
Island marks Remembrance Sunday
08 Nov 09 |  Guernsey
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30 Sep 09 |  Guernsey

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