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Alarm Sounds

The necessity for alarm sounds to inform or warn members of a society is not a recent invention. Even in the Stone Age, drums and animal horns were used to spread messages far and wide. After the discovery of various metals, people began to manufacture signal horns for military use. Instruments like trumpets and trombones are derived from these early horns. As we can see, systems and sirens to create alarm sounds have been part of our society since the dawn of mankind.
The use of bells to create alarm sounds goes back all the way to the Egyptians and the time of the Pharaos. These so-called plate bells were hung from shelves so that their distinctive sound could be heard from far away. This technique is still being used today, except that plate bells and forged bells have been replaced with cast bells. For many centuries, storm bells or alarm bells were used as an alarm sounds to warn village and city dwellers from fires and attacking barbarians.
After the Industrialisation, the ambient noise of a mechanised society necessitated a new kind of alarm system. The first sirens were steam-powered pipes used on steamships, which could create loud enough alarm sounds because traditional bells were no longer loud enough to overpower the noise of the engines.

WWII Air Raid Alarm Sounds

Thanks to electricity and the invention of the motorised siren, this type of siren was widely adopted before and during the Second World War. The undulating, howling sound of the siren was a highly characteristic alarm sound, which made it an efficient warning signal ahead of air raids. It also became synonymous with the terror of falling bombs -- death dealt from the skies. An entire generation was scarred forever by the sound of the motorised siren.

Nuclear Alarm Sounds

During the Cold War, sirens were no longer used to warn of air raids. Instead, they became alarm systems for possible nuclear attacks. In Germany, the term 'alert' replaced the previous 'air raid warning'. A shortened, one-minute siren alarm sounds was devised to alert citizens of a possible attack.
In post-WWII England, alarm sounds were assigned a new meaning: alerting people to the threat of a nuclear attack. They were also used to warn people of floods and freak weather, as well as escaped prisoners or highly dangerous mental-health patients.

Alarm Sounds and Sound Effects

Alarm Sounds and sound effects at Avosound - Alarm sound are available in a multitude of variations: alarm sounds, siren alarm sounds, fire alarm sounds, fire drill, emergency alarm sounds, siren wail and howling alarm sounds, emergency alarm from fire service and police sirens.
In the Second World War, loud and widespread siren wails were generated as alarm sounds with pneumatic, electrical or manually operated mechanical alarm sound systems to warn against air raid. These mechanical alarm sirens are still widely used today for civil protection in many countries. There were different sirens. Air raid alarm sounds are characterized by howling sirens coming in and out. Water alarm due to short, loud alarm blasts. Civil defense alarm sounds are available for earthquakes and disaster alarms, which one hopefully never has to hear. Also a rather unpleasant case of alarm is the ABC alarm. The alarm sound of the ABC alarm is like the air raid alarm a rising and declining wailing siren which is repeated.

Siren Wails and Alarm Bells

Alarm sounds can be triggered by an alarm bell, a mechanical alarm siren or via an electric siren. Alarm systems of cars or alarm systems in case of burglaries usually use electric sirens with electric beeps or hooters to create loud alarm signals. Other alarm sound systems are produced by the company Klaxon, which have been used for many years in industrial plants. The well-known Klaxon alarm sound is also a typical sound on submarines, ship sirens or aircraft carriers. Also a user of Klaxon Alarm sirens is the empire. A long long time ago, the empire used the Klaxon horn and sirens as alarm sounds on the death star.

Further variants of acoustic alarms and signal tones can be found in emergency. Fire alarm sounds, fire alarm sirens, police sirens or sirens from ambulance are differed from country to country. American sirens from police cars are swelling and decaying sirens, while in Europe the two-tone siren is used.

You can find a multitude of alarm sounds and siren blasts at the Avosound online library to preview and download: alarm sirens, siren sounds, alarm bells and wailing air raid siren sounds.

Mechanical Alarm Sounds

Mechanical alarm sirens create howling alarm sounds by rotating a shovel-studded drum within a container that sports openings. The higher the number of the rotor's revolutions, the higher the pitch of the howling. The result are undulating siren alarm sounds. The siren can be operated electrically or manually. These mechanical alarm sirens are widely used all over the world. In the United States, very big and loud mechanical alarm sirens equipped with V8 cylinder motors were used during the Cold War.
In Germany, the mechanical siren is called unit siren E57 (although East Germany and countries of the former Soviet Union used their own type of similar construction during the time of the German Democratic Republic). This alarm siren creates a howling alarm sound that can allegedly be heard across very long distances (it reaches a sound level of 105 dB). In rural areas, the sound of the siren is said to reach 70dB even at a distance of 700m. In cities and industrial areas, these levels can obviously not be reached. One can imagine that the American alarm siren outfitted with a V8 motor was probably quite a bit louder than that.

Pneumatic Alarm Sounds

Pneumatic alarm sirens can create enormous sound pressure and spread it across big distances thanks to the horns mounted on the top of the siren. The construction of pneumatic alarm sirens is different from mechanical sirens. While the mechanical siren creates the airstream with the help of centrifugal forces, the pneumatic alarm siren uses a compressed air canister to pump the airstream into the siren head.
The air-powered alarm siren (pneumatic siren) is easily identified by the horns mounted to the siren's head. Similar to a mechanical siren, the air-powered alarm sirens create their signal by interrupting the air-stream cycle with the help of a perforated disc. The spinning disc inside the siren's head is called a rotor; it is electrically powered. The air-stream is directed through the holes in the rotor and external vents. The spinning motion of the rotor either opens or closes the holes, which creates the sound of the siren that is then directed to several horns. The air-stream that is needed for the operation of the siren is created by an Aerosol canister underneath the siren.

Klaxon Alarm Sounds

Klaxon alarm sirens were often used in the harsh environments of submarines, ships and industrial buildings. It comes as no surprise then that the unique siren sound of the Klaxon can be heard in many movies. A submarine movie without a Klaxon diving alarm sound is not a real submarine movie!
The Klaxon horn made another famous appearance in George Lucas' Star Wars films. Just one example: Ben Burtt, the sound designer and creator of the Star Wars sounds, used a Klaxon horn sound for scenes set inside the Death Star.

1 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_1 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_1.wav $ 3.67* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren Starts, But Is Broken And Only Sounds A Few Sporadic Times During Slow Approach And In 2.0

Alarm

Siren Emergency

0:31 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159120 SoundStorm Library
2 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-In Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-In.wav $ 2.98* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren Starts, But Is Broken And Only Sounds A Few Sporadic Times During Slow Approach And In 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:41 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159128 SoundStorm Library
3 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_6 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_6.wav $ 4.11* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Ambulance Comes To Stop, Gear Placed In Park, Nice Idle And Then Off 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:46 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159125 SoundStorm Library
4 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_2 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_2.wav $ 2.73* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Ambulance Stops And Gear Shifted To Park, And Then Off 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:30 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159121 SoundStorm Library
5 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_4 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_4.wav $ 3.70* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Short Ambulance Idle, Gear Placed In Park And Then Off 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:32 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159123 SoundStorm Library
6 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_3 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_3.wav $ 2.96* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Small Brake Squeal As Stops, Short Ambulance Idle And Then Off 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:40 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159122 SoundStorm Library
7 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_8 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_8.wav $ 4.14* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - In, By And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, By, Then Siren Stops, Ambulance Idle 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:47 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159127 SoundStorm Library
8 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_5 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_5.wav $ 3.83* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Is Put In Gear, Siren Starts, Then Fast Take Off And By Mic And A Long Away 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:36 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159124 SoundStorm Library
9 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_7 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-_7.wav $ 3.83* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Is Put In Gear, Siren Starts, Then Fast Take Off And By Mic And A Long Away 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:36 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159126 SoundStorm Library
10 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-St Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-HighLow-St.wav $ 2.90* Sirens - Ambulance - High Low - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Is Put In Gear, Siren Starts, Then Fast Take Off And By Mic And A Long Away 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:37 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159129 SoundStorm Library
11 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_3 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_3.wav $ 3.70* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - In And Stop - Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Short Ambulance Idle And Then Off 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:32 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159172 SoundStorm Library
12 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_2 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_2.wav $ 3.86* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - In And Stop - Slow Approach, In, Then Siren Stops A Medium Distance Away, Ambulance Moves Closer 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:37 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159171 SoundStorm Library
13 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-In Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-In.wav $ 3.12* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren Start, Slow Approach, In, Then Siren Stops A Medium Distance Away, Ambulance Moves Closer, Then Stop And Off 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:48 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159175 SoundStorm Library
14 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_4 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_4.wav $ 3.74* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Small Brake Squeal As Stops 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:33 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159173 SoundStorm Library
15 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_1 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-I_1.wav $ 3.77* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - In And Stop - Very Distant Siren, Medium Approach, C U In, Then Siren Stops, Small Brake Squeal As Stops, Short Ambulance Idle And Then Off 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:34 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159170 SoundStorm Library
16 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-In, Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-In,.wav $ 4.03* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - In, By And Stop - Very Distant Siren Start, Slow Approach, In, Then Siren Stops A Medium Distance Away, Ambulance C U By, Then Stop And Idle 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:43 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159174 SoundStorm Library
17 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_4 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_4.wav $ 3.37* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Is Put In Gear, Siren Starts, Then Fast Take Off And By Mic And Away 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:23 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159179 SoundStorm Library
18 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_2 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_2.wav $ 3.49* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Is Put In Gear, Siren Starts, Then Fast Take Off And By Mic And A Long Away 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:26 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159177 SoundStorm Library
19 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_1 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_1.wav $ 3.19* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Then Siren, Fast By Mic And Away, Siren Kind Of Malfuncutions When Only Medium Away 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:19 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159176 SoundStorm Library
20 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_3 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-S_3.wav $ 3.33* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Then Siren, Medium By Mic And Away, Siren Kind Of Malfuncutions When Only Medium Away 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:22 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159178 SoundStorm Library
21 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-Sta Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Ambulance-Yelper-Sta.wav $ 2.46* Sirens - Ambulance - Yelper - Start O S, By And Away - Ambulance Starts O S, Then Siren, Medium By Mic And Away, Siren Kind Of Malfuncutions When Only Medium Away 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:21 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159180 SoundStorm Library
22 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-CityAmbianceWithDist Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-CityAmbianceWithDist.wav $ 3.92* Sirens - City Ambiance With Distant Siren - Ext - Busy Street Ambiance C U On Traffic, Distant Siren @ Head, Cut-Off Tram By @ 0 33, Short File 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:39 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159184 SoundStorm Library
23 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-DistantSirenApproach Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-DistantSirenApproach.wav $ 6.20* Sirens - Distant Siren Approaches - Ext - Thick Snowfall Has Covered Area, Medium Distant Traffic, Wet Sounding Roads, Light Birds, O S Buses, Distant Siren Begins @ 1 49 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 3:13 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159185 SoundStorm Library
24 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-HighLow-CU-ConstantS Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-HighLow-CU-ConstantS.wav $ 4.54* Sirens - High Low - C U - Constant Steady, W On And Off 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 1:05 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159206 SoundStorm Library
25 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-HighLow-SlowInSto_1 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-HighLow-SlowInSto_1.wav $ 2.65* Sirens - High Low - Slow In And Stop - Slow Distant Approach And Stop, Coasting W Out Engine 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:27 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159209 SoundStorm Library
26 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-LondonU.K.AmbulanceB Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-LondonU.K.AmbulanceB.wav $ 3.28* Sirens - London U.K. Ambulance By - C U - British Ambulance Siren By, Some Overmodulation During Peak, Recordist Was Not Able To Capture Entire By, Cut Off @ Beginning, Os City And Traffic Noise 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:21 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159213 SoundStorm Library
27 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Motorcycle-Yelper-_3 Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Motorcycle-Yelper-_3.wav $ 3.07* Sirens - Motorcycle - Yelper - Start O S, By And Away - Motorcycle Starts O S, Siren Starts, Then Fast By Mic And A Long Away, Very Distant Siren Off 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:45 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159251 SoundStorm Library
28 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Sirens-Yelper-SlowInStop-V Sound Effects Waveform Sirens-Yelper-SlowInStop-V.wav $ 3.12* Sirens - Yelper - Slow In And Stop - Very Distant Siren Start, Slow Approach, In, Then Siren Stops, Coasting W Out Engine 1.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:48 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 159506 SoundStorm Library
29 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, SoundDesign-Siren-Bleet-C_1 Sound Effects Waveform SoundDesign-Siren-Bleet-C_1.wav $ 2.57* Sound Design - Siren - Bleet - C U - Multiple, Fast, High Pitch, Lots Of Reverb, Processed 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:09 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 161496 SoundStorm Library
30 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, SoundDesign-Siren-Bleet-C_3 Sound Effects Waveform SoundDesign-Siren-Bleet-C_3.wav $ 2.72* Sound Design - Siren - Bleet - C U - Multiple, Fast, Medium Pitch, Lots Of Reverb, Processed 2.0 Alarm Siren Emergency 0:11 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 161498 SoundStorm Library