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.

Library Waveform Filename add Price Description Channels Duration ShortID Category Subcategory Location Resolution Track ID Library
1 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 8 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 8.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, Five Bells Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:14

Alarm

Alarm Bells

16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26421 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
2 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 6 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 6.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, Three Bells Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:16 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26425 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
3 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, WarningSir_BBC-Historical_3 Sound Effects Waveform WarningSir_BBC-Historical_3.wav 3.50* Alarm, Siren: Warning Siren Sounded At Space Rocket Site. 2.0 0:18 Alarm Alarm Siren 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26419 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
4 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 4 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 4.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, One Bell Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:14 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26423 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
5 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, Unknow_BBC-Historical_A  10 Sound Effects Waveform Unknow_BBC-Historical_A 10.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Unknown Maritime Catalouging 2.0 0:15 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26427 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
6 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 9 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 9.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, Six Bells Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:15 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26424 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
7 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, Unknow_BBC-Historical_A  11 Sound Effects Waveform Unknow_BBC-Historical_A 11.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Unknown Maritime Catalouging 2.0 0:30 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26428 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
8 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 7 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 7.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, Four Bells Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:13 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26422 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
9 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 5 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 5.wav 2.60* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, Two Bells Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:09 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26426 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
10 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 3 Sound Effects Waveform ShipsBel_BBC-Historical_A 3.wav 3.50* Alarm, Transportation Sea: Ships Bells, Eight Bells Sounded. (from 78 Disc) 2.0 0:13 Alarm Alarm Bells 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26420 BBC Historical Sound Effects Library
11 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, HospitalMensWard.BBC.EC3H1 Sound Effects Waveform HospitalMensWard.BBC.EC3H1.wav 7.90* Emergency, Hospital: Hospitals: Quiet Male And Female Conversation At Visiting Time, Approx. 30 People 2.0 6:37 Alarm Emergency Hospital 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32885 BBC Sound Effects Library
12 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AirRaidSirens.BBC.ECD101f Sound Effects Waveform AirRaidSirens.BBC.ECD101f.wav 4.40* Alarm Sounds, Air Raid Siren Sound Effects, Air Raid Siren Sounds - Air Raid Siren - Civil Defense Siren, Warfare, World War II: All Clear (Italy) - 1968 (162A) 2.0 1:00 Alarm Siren Air Raid Siren 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 37801 BBC Sound Effects Library
13 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, FactoriesSirens.BBC.EC88Df Sound Effects Waveform FactoriesSirens.BBC.EC88Df.wav 3.50* Emergency, Factory: Emergency, Factory: Factory Hooter Sounded. 2.0 0:23 Alarm Emergency Factory 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32770 BBC Sound Effects Library
14 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AirRaidSirens.BBC.ECD101a Sound Effects Waveform AirRaidSirens.BBC.ECD101a.wav 4.40* Alarm Sounds, Air Raid Siren Sound Effects, Air Raid Siren Sounds - Air Raid Siren - Civil Defense Siren, Warfare, World War II: Alert (England) - 1968 (162A) 2.0 1:03 Alarm Siren Air Raid Siren 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 37794 BBC Sound Effects Library
15 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AmbulancesGermany.BBC.EC47A Sound Effects Waveform AmbulancesGermany.BBC.EC47A.wav 4.40* Emergency, Ambulance: German Ambulance Arrives, Activity, Departs With Martinhorn. 2.0 1:22 Alarm Emergency Ambulance 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32763 BBC Sound Effects Library
16 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, Laboratories.BBC.ECD28 Sound Effects Waveform Laboratories.BBC.ECD28.wav 5.30* Emergency, Hospital: Hospital Research Laboratory Atmosphere. 2.0 2:36 Alarm Emergency Hospital 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32878 BBC Sound Effects Library
17 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, ShipsSirens.BBC.EC61Tb Sound Effects Waveform ShipsSirens.BBC.EC61Tb.wav 3.50* Siren, Ship: Siren, Ship: R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth II, Ship"s Siren, Four Long Blasts As Ship Leaves Port, Close Perspective, With Other Ships At End. 2.0 0:39 Alarm Siren Ship 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 37828 BBC Sound Effects Library
18 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AlarmsElectronic.BBC.EC25Eg Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsElectronic.BBC.EC25Eg.wav 3.50* Alarm, Electronic: Electronic Alarm Signal 2.0 0:22 Alarm Alarm Electronic 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26400 BBC Sound Effects Library
19 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, FireEngine.BBC.EC2F3b Sound Effects Waveform FireEngine.BBC.EC2F3b.wav 3.50* Emergency, Fire Service: Fire Engine: Interior, Start, Run With Bell, Stop 2.0 0:59 Alarm Emergency Fire Service 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32817 BBC Sound Effects Library
20 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AmbulancesBedford.BBC.EC47H Sound Effects Waveform AmbulancesBedford.BBC.EC47H.wav 3.50* Emergency, Ambulance: Ambulance, Exterior, Starts And Departs. (With Horn.) (Bedford Ambulance.) 2.0 0:18 Alarm Emergency Ambulance 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32749 BBC Sound Effects Library
21 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, PulseMonitors.BBC.EC3H2c Sound Effects Waveform PulseMonitors.BBC.EC3H2c.wav 3.50* Emergency, Hospital: Hospital Equipment: Pulse Monitor Activity, Fast And Stop, Activity And Traffic 2.0 0:16 Alarm Emergency Hospital 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32863 BBC Sound Effects Library
22 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, PoliceCars.BBC.ECD45u Sound Effects Waveform PoliceCars.BBC.ECD45u.wav 4.40* Emergency, Police: Emergency, Police: Police Car Yelp Siren, Interior Acoustic. 2.0 1:05 Alarm Siren Police US 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32922 BBC Sound Effects Library
23 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AlarmsBurglar.BBC.ECD18b Sound Effects Waveform AlarmsBurglar.BBC.ECD18b.wav 3.50* Alarm, Burglar: Burglar Alarm, Bell 2.0 0:34 Alarm Alarm Burglar 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26386 BBC Sound Effects Library
24 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, FireEngine.BBC.ECD45g Sound Effects Waveform FireEngine.BBC.ECD45g.wav 3.50* Emergency, Fire Service: Fire Engine, Pass Right To Left With Two Tone Horns. 2.0 0:48 Alarm Emergency Fire Service 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32803 BBC Sound Effects Library
25 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, Alarms.BBC.EC203Ja Sound Effects Waveform Alarms.BBC.EC203Ja.wav 3.50* Power Station, Audible Alarm From A Recorder. (Conventional Power Station.) 2.0 0:15 Alarm Alarm 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26432 BBC Sound Effects Library
26 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, AmbulanceAustin.BBC.EC47Gd Sound Effects Waveform AmbulanceAustin.BBC.EC47Gd.wav 3.50* Emergency, Ambulance: Ambulance, Exterior, Approaches, Stops, Doors, Stretcher Taken Out. (With Bell.) (Austin Automatic Ambulance.) 2.0 0:36 Alarm Emergency Ambulance 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32735 BBC Sound Effects Library
27 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, Harbours.BBC.EC61Qc Sound Effects Waveform Harbours.BBC.EC61Qc.wav 3.50* Emergency, Harbour: Emergency, Harbour: Two Ships" Sirens Sounding Long Blasts. (Recorded At Pool Of London.) 2.0 0:21 Alarm Emergency Harbour 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32849 BBC Sound Effects Library
28 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, PoliceCars.BBC.ECD69b Sound Effects Waveform PoliceCars.BBC.ECD69b.wav 3.50* Emergency, Police: Emergency, Police: Police Car - Fast Pass With Siren (Copenhagen) 2.0 0:16 Alarm Siren Police US 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32908 BBC Sound Effects Library
29 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, FireEngine.BBC.EC47Bb Sound Effects Waveform FireEngine.BBC.EC47Bb.wav 3.50* Emergency, Fire Service: Fire Engine Departs. 2.0 0:29 Alarm Emergency Fire Service 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 32788 BBC Sound Effects Library
30 BBC Sound Effects Library BBC Alarm Sound Effects, Klaxons.BBC.EC3W2b Sound Effects Waveform Klaxons.BBC.EC3W2b.wav 2.60* Alarm, Klaxon: Klaxon Siren, Klaxon Horn, Sirens And Bells: Klaxon 2.0 0:08 Alarm Alarm Klaxon 16 Bit / 44100 Hz 26417 BBC Sound Effects Library