I'm not sure which city you are asking about. When I use to live in Norfolk, the sirens were activated by a series of tones transmitted on
39.940 Mhz. At that time, that was Norfolk PD channel 2.
Depending on what alert needed to be activated, (tornado, fire alert, all clear, ect......) they would transmit a certain tone and the sirens would sound accordingly. Another series of tones would shut them down.
As I recall, the sirens were tested on the first tuesday of every month around 10am. Monitor 39.940 around that time. If you hear a series of tones, and then the sirens go off, they are still using the old system.
But, that was over 10 years ago, so I don't know if they have changed since moving to the new 800 Mhz system. They may have implemented
the sirens into the new system. In that case, you'd have to leave the scanner open to all talk groups and see what happens.
If you are in Madison, I can't help you. I doubt that Madison would use the same system, due to the close proximity to Norfolk and the power that they use on those low band systems. Would cause interference.