Alert sirens in France to sound this Thursday May 2

A warning system using sirens has been in place since 1948

There are 4,500 of the alarms in France

France’s midday sirens will not be heard tomorrow (May 1), but instead will sound on the following day, Thursday May 2. 

Multiple prefectures have posted on social media to inform people that alarms will be checked on Thursday at midday.

Generally, areas across France run their warning sirens at midday on the first Wednesday of every month, to check they are still operational. 

There are around 4,500 of these sirens, and during tests they run for one minute and 41 seconds. 

In the event of a real emergency, the sirens will run three times instead of just one, and are followed by an end-of-tone signal that lasts for 30 seconds.

Read more: The monthly warning siren in France: What does it mean?

Due to the public holiday on May 1 – which will see almost all shops and non-essential services closed – alarms will be tested the following day.

This is usually the case when a public holiday falls on the first Wednesday of the month – the same thing happened last year when Toussaint (November 1) fell on the first Wednesday of November. 

Read more: Lily of the valley and workers’ rights: May 1 is special day in France

The alarm system has been in use since 1948, and was originally called the Système d'Alerte et d’Information des Populations (SAIP). 

Original plans were to use the sirens to warn against air raids, however with the progression of the Cold War and risk of other issues – such as a nuclear accident – are now poised for use during any emergency. 

Some communes also use the alarms as a signal for firefighters. 

Read more: What to do if you live near Mediterranean and missed tsunami SMS alert