Norway is covered by a warning system that uses sirens to alert the population of any sudden danger. The signals are tested twice a year. On this page, you can find out what the various signals mean.
When the sirens sound a series of three signals, separated by a one-minute interval, that means ‘important message – listen to the radio’. If you hear the signal, it is effectively telling you to seek information. Information about what is happening and what you should do will be disseminated through various media, such as radio, TV, kriseinfo.no and social media. This signal can be used in peacetime and wartime.
If the sirens sound an intermittent signal for around one minute, that means ‘danger of attack – seek cover’. This signal could be used if an air raid was threatened or if there was going to be a war training exercise.
When the sirens sound continuously for 30 seconds, this means that the danger is over.
The sirens are tested every winter and summer in peacetime, at 12:00 noon on the second Wednesday in January and June. The signal used for the test is ‘important message – listen to the radio’.
Sometimes the sirens can go off because of a fault. If this happens, you should notify your local Civil Defence unit immediately. You can find a list of Norway’s civil defence units on the Civil Defence website.
The warning system may be used in peacetime and wartime to alert the population of sudden danger. In peacetime, it is the police who are responsible for deciding whether the warning system should be used. Potential situations could include an industrial gas leak, or a reservoir dam that has burst. In wartime, the Civil Defence may sound the warning sirens if there is the threat of an air raid.
There are around 1250 warning systems in Norway. Most of them are in towns and cities. The signals are designed to be heard by more than half the population.
If you're wondering where the warning systems are located, you can see them on DSB’s interactive map. To display the warning systems on the map, choose Civil Defence from the menu and tick the warning system box.