Montreal to practice public alert drills across city Thursday

Montrealers across the city shouldn’t be surprised if they hear a series of sirens on Thursday afternoon.

The city is holding a public alert exercise intended to prepare for a major industrial accident starting at 2 p.m. that will continue for about three minutes.

“This siren test aims to assure the proper functioning of actual sirens as well as the state of preparedness of all emergency first responders,” the city said on its website.

The drill will take place at nine different factories across the city from as far east as Rivière-des-Prairies to as far west as Lachine. Participating companies include the Molson Coors Brewery in Ville-Marie and Parmalat in Montreal West.

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Residents who are outside and within hearing range may hear the sirens, since the blaring sound is meant to advise them to take shelter in an emergency.

The city says residents are not expected to do anything during the drill.

A full list of participating industrial companies and maps that indicate the hearing range of the sirens can be found here.

What to do if there is a toxic leak

The City of Montreal also has guidelines on what to do in case of an actual toxic leak.

When sirens are heard in an industrial emergency, people should quickly enter the nearest building. They are advised to immediately close doors, windows and ventilation units.

Residents should also not head to their children’s schools so as to not endanger themselves or others.

The city also says residents should avoid calling 911 during a toxic leak in order not to block emergency phone lines.

A full list of instructions of what to do during a major industrial accident can be found on the city’s website.

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