If you live in Crowthorne or the surrounding area, you’ll be familiar with the sound of the Broadmoor Hospital siren, which is tested every Monday morning at 10am.

Broadmoor Hospital sirenThe wailing siren is sounded for two minutes, followed shortly later by the all clear continuous siren for two minutes.

There are 13 satellite sirens covering local areas including Sandhurst, Wokingham, Bracknell, Camberley and Bagshot.

The siren was introduced in 1952 following an escape from the hospital and recommendations from an independent inquiry.  The siren was last activated to warn of an escape from the hospital in 1993.  Since that time there has been significant investment in improving security at the hospital including the installation of a second perimeter fence and additional alarm and control systems.

In addition to the sirens, the hospital has arrangements in place with the local authorities for the immediate notification and cascade of information to all local schools. These arrangements are tested at the beginning of each term. The hospital also has emergency plans in place with Thames Valley Police.

In the event of an incident at the hospital, we would also post updates on the website to keep the public informed. Arrangements are also in place to keep the media informed.

Changes to the Broadmoor siren

The technology used in the siren system is now very dated and can only be maintained and repaired at costs which are considered reasonable to the tax payer. In 2014 we conducted a review and public consultation about partial decommissioning of the siren system.

Following the consultation, the trust was invited to attend the Bracknell Forest Council oversight and scrutiny commission (OSC) to present its proposals. As a result, both the trust and OSC agreed that until such time that the new hospital is complete and the security perimeter fence realigned (2018), all community sirens would remain, subject to the ability to maintain them in working order.

From 2018, subject to planning permission, a single siren will be located in the grounds of the hospital. All remaining sirens will then be decommissioned.

Watch our brief video below to find out more.