THE CITY OF BERKELEY has new emergency warning sirens to alert people outdoors of imminent danger.

Ten sirens have been installed and five more will installed early next year. The sirens wail and provide a verbal message to alert residents of dangers such as wildfires and tsunamis, city officials said on Aug. 31. 

People who hear the sirens and/or message should seek more information from the city’s emergency map and AC Alert, which pushes notifications to residents, but which residents must sign up for. 

The map can be found at and residents can sign up for AC Alert at

To hear what the siren/verbal message sounds like when officials activate it, people can go to

AC Alert and Berkeley’s emergency map will tell residents what to do, such as whether to evacuate or shelter in place, in the event of an emergency. The necessary actions may apply to the whole city or just part of it, city officials said. The action required will depend on the emergency.

People unaffected directly by an emergency should stay informed because an emergency in one area may require residents in another area to act, according to the city.

The new sirens were made possible by funding in Measure FF, which Berkeley voters passed in December 2020. Installation started earlier this year. 

The sirens are tied to PG&E’s grid and have a solar-powered battery backup system, which can be turned on by a landline phone, cellphone, computer or via satellite.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.