The Noon Lunch Bell Finally Explained

Short documentary goes behind famed SF bell

It happens every week without fail in downtown San Francisco. At noon on Tuesday that annoying buzzer goes off across the city streets and pierces its way through every building along the Embarcadero.

The Tuesday Noon Siren

Some call it the lunch bell (because it goes off at noon) others just try to block it out. Well our friends at SFist were kind enough to point us to a short two-minute docu-explanation of what the Tuesday siren really is and why its been going strong for more than 50 years now.

The video, created by with the help of the SF Department of Emergency Management, tells us that the siren is actually manually operated by a man named Cesar Santos. Please don't hurt him. He is only doing his job after all.

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The outdoor warning system was first introduced in the 1940s following World War II to alert the city of a danger, such as an earthquake, a tsunami or any man made castraophes. It's also important to note that in a real emergency the siren will tone for five minutes and that means to get the hell indoors because it is not a test. Check out the documentary for yourself.

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