Sirens

“Payroll night” (there’s a pattern here which is obvious to me, but it occurs to me that others might notice it) so it’s late and there’s not much time to post, or think. Not that the two are necessarily related…

So all I’ve got is a question, probably for my British friends, but I’ll leave the comments open for all.

There’s a fair amount of BritBox television that gets watched, often their police procedurals, and I notice that a lot of the police cars shown have the “American” brand siren, a long frequency, maybe 10-15 seconds per cycle. But I always associated British police sirens with a much faster frequency with just two notes, about a second or less per cycle. (I know, that description sucks, but I don’t have time to go find audio copies of the sounds and embed them.)

Are both used? Is it regional? Is there some other distinction? Are the faster, sing-songy sirens for ambulances and not police cars or something else like that?

Just curious. And busy. And short on time. But mainly curious.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Sirens

  1. I noticed we’d changed our police sirens some years ago (I take a while to notice these things). It then occurred to me that police, ambulance and fire/rescue all have different sounds. But they all change from some sort of musical note to a click-click or buzz-buzz when getting to junction which I believe was worked out by sound engineers to make it absolutely clear which way they were coming from (I think I saw this on a science programme). Sirens bounced off buildings etc – and I still look every which way when I hear one because, y’know, inside the car…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adding to that, several ‘US’ things have been adopted in Europe for emergency stuff, just because we can, and most people learn their English from tv. For emergency you can now dial 911 on a European phone, or keep to the one you know and love. (and 911 isn’t advertised as the emergency number, it is just there in case…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the information, Jemima. I should have known that US television would be influencing (aka, INFECTING) the rest of the world. I also can tell the difference most of the time between police, fire, and ambulance sirens, but then again, I also can usually tell the difference (in broad terms at least) between different types of aircraft passing overhead. It’s a gift or black magic or superpower. I would have preferred to be able to fly like Superman…

      Liked by 1 person

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