PACIFICA (KCBS) – If you live along the San Mateo County coast you may have heard a loud siren Wednesday, but rest assured it was only a test. However, it was unlike any other test conducted along the county’s coast so far.

The full-volume test of eight tsunami sirens from Pacifica to Pescadero lasted three to four minutes, which seems like a long time but Pacifica Police Captain Dave Bertini said that it’s designed to get everyone’s attention. He said that if we had a long-distance tsunami coming there would be a siren sounding at three hours before impact, another at two hours, another at one hour, and then at 30 and 15 minutes before it struck.

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KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

”Those sirens would be followed by actual voice instructions over the PA systems, coupled with all sorts of other notifications including reverse 9-1-1 calls to those in the inundation zone,” said Bertini.

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After the March tsunami warning stemming from the massive Japan quake most coastal residents are already tsunami aware, but few on Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica were prepared for Wednesday’s test.

”You know you’re out here and surfing, and all you’re concentrating on is not drowning in the waves out here, and all of a sudden you hear sirens – it’s going to freak people out,” said surfer Ty Sorvino.

The monthly warning sirens will get tested on the first Wednesday of each month.

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