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Alarm Sounds

The necessity for a signal sound 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, alarm systems and siren sounds have been part of our society since the dawn of mankind.
The use of alarm bells 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 and alarm bells were used 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, 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 highly characteristic, 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

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 was devised to alert citizens of a possible attack.
In post-WWII England, alarm sirens 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

Alarm Sounds and sound effects at Avosound - Alarm sound are available in a multitude of variations: alarm sounds, alarm sirens, fire alert, fire drill, emergency sirens, siren wail and howling, emergency alarm from fire service and police sirens. In the Second World War, loud and widespread siren wails were generated with pneumatic, electrical or manually operated mechanical alarm 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 is characterized by howling sirens coming in and out. Water alarm due to short, loud alarm blasts. Civil defense alarms 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 siren signal of the ABC alarm is like the air raid alarm a rising and declining wailing siren which is repeated.

Sirens and Alarm Bells

Alarm 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 systems are produced by the company Klaxon, which have been used for many years in industrial plants. The well-known Klaxon alarm 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 an alarm on the death star.

Further variants of acoustic alarms and signal tones can be found in emergency. Fire alarms, 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, sirens, alarm bells and howling air raid siren sounds.

Mechanical Alarm Sounds

Mechanical alarm sirens create a howling noise 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 is an undulating siren alarm sound. 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 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 for scenes set inside the Death Star.

1 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close_1 Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close_1.wav 1.30* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - Close-Up - 6 Steady Honks From Alarm Going Off; (1996 Ford Explorer)

Alarm

Alarm

0:04 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121911 SoundStorm Library 1.0
2 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-VentilatorWAirInI.V. Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-VentilatorWAirInI.V..wav 3.30* Alarm - Ventilator W Air In I.V. Pump Alarm - Int - C U - Regular I.V. Pump Alarm With Erratic Ventilator, Off Stage Voices In Background Alarm Alarm 0:37 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 122011 SoundStorm Library 2.0
3 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close-U Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close-U.wav 2.40* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - Close-Up - Series Of Persistent Honks From Alarm Going Off; (1996 Ford Explorer) Alarm Alarm 0:32 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121920 SoundStorm Library 1.0
4 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-HospitalHeartMonitor Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-HospitalHeartMonitor.wav 3.20* Alarm - Hospital Heart Monitor Alarm - Int - C U - On And Off, Two Tone, (Goes Off If Alarm Goes Above Or Below A Pre-Determined Rate) Alarm Alarm 0:35 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121989 SoundStorm Library 2.0
5 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-HospitalHeartMonit_1 Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-HospitalHeartMonit_1.wav 3.20* Alarm - Hospital Heart Monitor Alarm - Int - C U - Constant Tone, (Lower Level Alarm, Not For Life Threatening Situations) Alarm Alarm 0:34 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121988 SoundStorm Library 2.0
6 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close_3 Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close_3.wav 2.20* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - Close-Up - Rapid Honks For Alarm Going Off, (2001 Ford Explorer) Alarm Alarm 0:25 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121913 SoundStorm Library 1.0
7 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-KitchenAlarm-Int-MCU Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-KitchenAlarm-Int-MCU.wav 4.70* Alarm - Kitchen Alarm - Int - MCU - Kitchen Room Tone With Alarm Buzz And Clock Ticking Alarm Alarm 2:16 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121993 SoundStorm Library 2.0
8 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-NavyAlarmHornBlasts- Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-NavyAlarmHornBlasts-.wav 2.50* Alarm - Navy Alarm Horn Blasts - Interior - C U - Alarm Horn Blast Eight Times Alarm Alarm 0:14 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 122008 SoundStorm Library 2.0
9 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-HighPitchedAlarmWith Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-HighPitchedAlarmWith.wav 4.20* Alarm - High Pitched Alarm With C U Motor Sounds - Int - C U Rattle From Escalators, Some MCU Walla @ Times, Sounds Like Flappy Fan Belt And Electrical Motor Steady, Loud Alarm Goes Off @ 1 14 Alarm Alarm 1:32 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121987 SoundStorm Library 2.0
10 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close_2 Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-Close_2.wav 2.00* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - Close-Up - Series Of Persistent Honks From Alarm Going Off; (1996 Ford Explorer) Alarm Alarm 0:17 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121912 SoundStorm Library 1.0
11 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-OS-Chir Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-OS-Chir.wav 2.20* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - O S - Chirps Alarm Alarm 0:09 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121938 SoundStorm Library 2.0
12 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-ElectronicAlarm-Ext- Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-ElectronicAlarm-Ext-.wav 3.00* Alarm - Electronic Alarm - Ext - CU Hollow, Mid-Ranged Pulses Alarm Alarm 1:14 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121954 SoundStorm Library 1.0
13 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-ElectronicCarAlarm_2 Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-ElectronicCarAlarm_2.wav 1.80* Alarm - Electronic Car Alarm - Ext - Medium Distant - Wailing Siren W Ascending Tones Alarm Alarm 0:05 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121970 SoundStorm Library 2.0
14 Casablanca Sound Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarm,Car,Dist,Mistake,Wind Sound Effects Waveform Alarm,Car,Dist,Mistake,Wind.wav 1.70* Alarm: Alarm Car Distant Mistake Wind Alarm Alarm 0:03 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 4492 Casablanca Sound Library 2.0
15 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-MultipleCarAlarms-Ex Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-MultipleCarAlarms-Ex.wav 3.40* Alarm - Multiple Car Alarm - Ext - MCU - Many Different Alarms @ Once, Honks, Sirens, Beeps Alarm Alarm 0:42 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 122007 SoundStorm Library 2.0
16 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-KlaxonAlarm-Int-CUMu Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-KlaxonAlarm-Int-CUMu.wav 2.70* Alarm - Klaxon Alarm - Int - CU Muffled, Mid-Range Signals Alarm Alarm 0:18 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 122002 SoundStorm Library 2.0
17 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Category, Alarm Auto CarsAlarms.BBC.ECD107b Sound Effects Waveform CarsAlarms.BBC.ECD107b.wav 2.50* Alarm, Auto: Set Off Alarm And Reset. Alarm Alarm Auto 0:10 16 Bit / 44100 kHz 26371 BBC Sound Effects Library 2.0
18 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-AlarmBeep-Int-CUOsci Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-AlarmBeep-Int-CUOsci.wav 3.80* Alarm - Alarm Beep - Int - CU Oscillation Between 2 High-Pitched Tones Alarm Alarm 1:02 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121906 SoundStorm Library 2.0
19 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Category, Alarm Burglar AlarmsBurglar.BBC.ECD18a Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsBurglar.BBC.ECD18a.wav 3.40* Alarm, Burglar: Burglar Alarm, Electronic Spin Alarm Alarm Burglar 0:15 16 Bit / 44100 kHz 26387 BBC Sound Effects Library 2.0
20 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-CU-Mult Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-CU-Mult.wav 2.80* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - CU - Multiple Activation And Deactivation Chirps With Horn Honks Alarm Alarm 0:21 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121922 SoundStorm Library 2.0
21 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Category, Alarm Electronic AlarmsElectronic.BBC.EC25Ej Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsElectronic.BBC.EC25Ej.wav 3.40* Alarm, Electronic: Electronic Alarm Signal. Alarm Alarm Electronic 0:28 16 Bit / 44100 kHz 26403 BBC Sound Effects Library 2.0
22 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-ChemicalAlarm-Ext-CU Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-ChemicalAlarm-Ext-CU.wav 1.60* Alarm - Chemical Alarm - Ext - CU Reverberant By Alarm Alarm 0:08 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121943 SoundStorm Library 1.0
23 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-ElectronicAlarm-In_3 Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-ElectronicAlarm-In_3.wav 2.40* Alarm - Electronic Alarm - Int - CU High-Mid-Ranged Dissonant Pulses Alarm Alarm 0:33 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121959 SoundStorm Library 1.0
24 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-ElectronicCarAlarm-E Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-ElectronicCarAlarm-E.wav 1.40* Alarm - Electronic Car Alarm - Ext - Medium Distant - Wailing, Buzzing, And Oscillating Tones Alarm Alarm 0:02 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121975 SoundStorm Library 2.0
25 Casablanca Sound Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarm,Tone,Buzz,Waver,Annoy Sound Effects Waveform Alarm,Tone,Buzz,Waver,Annoy.wav 3.40* Alarm: Alarm Tone Buzz Waver Annoy Alarm Alarm 0:14 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 4497 Casablanca Sound Library 1.0
26 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-HospitalVentilatorAl Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-HospitalVentilatorAl.wav 3.60* Alarm - Hospital Ventilator Alarm - Int - C U - Fast Rate High-Pitched Beep - (Alert If Patient Is Not Getting Air Properly) Alarm Alarm 0:50 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121991 SoundStorm Library 2.0
27 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Category, Alarm Bells AlarmsBells.BBC.EC3W2a Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsBells.BBC.EC3W2a.wav 3.40* Alarm, Bells: Sirens And Bells: Electric Alarm Bell Alarm Alarm Bells 0:12 16 Bit / 44100 kHz 26376 BBC Sound Effects Library 2.0
28 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Category, Alarm Electronic AlarmsElectronic.BBC.EC5E5a Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsElectronic.BBC.EC5E5a.wav 1.70* Alarm, Electronic: Alarm Sounded. (Specially Created Electronic Sound.) Alarm Alarm Electronic 0:04 16 Bit / 44100 kHz 26392 BBC Sound Effects Library 2.0
29 SoundStorm Library Sounddogs Alarm Category, Alarm Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-MCU-Get Sound Effects Waveform Alarms-CarAlarm-Ext-MCU-Get.wav 3.30* Alarm - Car Alarm - Ext - MCU - Getting Into Car And Beeping Alarm Alarm 0:37 16 Bit / 48000 kHz 121927 SoundStorm Library 2.0
30 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Category, Alarm Watch AlarmsWatches.BBC.ECD104 Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsWatches.BBC.ECD104.wav 3.40* Alarm, Watch: Digital Watch Alarm Alarm Alarm Watch 0:23 16 Bit / 44100 kHz 26429 BBC Sound Effects Library 2.0