MONTREAL - If you thought you heard an ambulance this afternoon but couldn't see any speeding emergency vehicle, it's because the noise was simply a test of the city's emergency preparedness.

At 3:15 p.m. Thursday warning sirens were scheduled to peal throughout Montreal as a test of an emergency system coordinated by the Montreal civic security office.

The sirens started their ringing a few minutes late and stayed on for a couple of minutes without incident. 

Industries that use dangerous materials are required to have sirens installed to warn the public of danger. Those sirens were all put through their paces simultaneously Thursday afternoon.

There are five such companies on the island of Montreal that work with chemicals such as ammonia, which could be dangerous in case of a spill.

In the event of an emergency people in the area who hear sirens should:

  • immediately take shelter in the nearest building
  • close all windows and doors, and turn off ventilation systems
  • turn on a radio to a station that will carry emergency notices (98.5 FM, CKAC 730 AM, CKOI 96.9 FM, The Beat 92.5 FM, 105.7 Rythme FM)
  • avoid using telephones so as not to overload lines
  • leave children at school in order to minimize exposure to toxic substances

The five companies that tested their sirens were

  • Cepsa at 10, 200 Sherbrooke E.
  • Chemtrade at 11,450 Cherrier
  • Saputo inc. at 6869 Metropolitain E. Blvd.
  • Molson Coors at 1550 Notre-Dame E.
  • Labatt Brewery at 50, Labatt St.