If you were born before the 1980s, you may remember a wail that took place at 10:00 in the morning on the last Friday of the month. Those were the monthly tests of air raid sirens during World Ward II and the Cold War.
There were 200 or so air raid sirens sprinkled throughout Los Angeles County. Many of them have been torn down already. The last test of the air raid sirens took place in 1985.
Here's an audio of such a test:
According to a 2007 article in the Los Angles Times:
With the frightening wail of air-raid sirens, routine duck-and-cover drills and fallout shelters, the government prepared Americans for Japanese bombs during World War II and nuclear attacks during the Cold War.
Never particularly reliable, the countywide system deteriorated decades ago. It was disconnected in 1985 and unstable sirens were removed. But at one time the system was state-of-the-art.
During World War II, hundreds of trumpet- and rocket-shaped air-raid sirens were installed atop traffic signals and buildings across Los Angeles County as part of the civil defense effort. Even then, the system short-circuited routinely, triggering false alarms and panicking residents.
The sirens were switched off after the war but were updated and reactivated in the 1950s because of the Cold War. On the last Friday of each month, the Sheriff's Department tested the system, sirens wailing for two minutes at 10 a.m.
|Above, another view of the air raid siren in Van Nuys. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
What caused me to post this blog was as I was returning home from the Van Nuys division of the Los Angeles Police Department after picking up my Ruger rifle, I was stopped at a signal on Oxnard Street at Sepulveda Blvd. in Van Nuys when I spotted an old air raid siren.
I decided to pull over and take some photos of it. It is a relic that will likely be gone in a few years. Actually, I miss hearing the tests.
To read the rest of the Los Angeles Times article, go here.