Thread: Sirens and Air Horns
08-16-2000, 02:23 PM #26Neptune 33Firehouse.com Guest
Ok, I agree with a lot of point to each subject and each view. However, although the people who are being woken up, either by the house siren and/or the apparatus, are laying in their beds going "There go those stupid firefighters again" My argument though, is, annoying to some, the person who dialed 911, is going to think that those sirens and lights coming down his or her street, is going to be the most welcome sight and sound they will ever hear or see. Just my two cents.
[This message has been edited by Neptune 33 (edited August 16, 2000).]
08-17-2000, 03:17 AM #2720-40Firehouse.com Guest
Neptune33 you're exactly right. And whenever the public conplains about not being able to sleep through either the house siren or the apparatus, they should be asked if they want the noise made when their house is on fire. On another section of the issue, our department has finally secummed (spelling??) to the public pressures of the house siren. We've decied to turn it off from the hours of 9pm - 7am, the first time its been turned off since 1939. I personally think it's a bunch of BS, because as I said, it may be annoying when you're trying to sleep, but would you want to siren to go off it it were YOUR house buring or you or one of your loved ones having an MI or shortness of breath? I think most people would. Just a few more $0.02.
08-17-2000, 03:37 PM #28HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
We still use an air raid siren along with our pagers. We eliminated the siren for about 4 months when we first got the pagers, but we brought it back on line due to the many benefits. Many good points have been brought up in this line about why we should use lights and sirens.
We have to remember that in this industry, paid or volunteer, there is always going to be politics involved. Keep in mind that these people that are annoyed with the sirens and air horns are also the ones that vote for council members that approve your budgets.
If the citizens don't hear how often you are called out to fires and other calls, they may not understand why you are asking for an increase in your operating budget for next year. The best publicity our department has for how busy we are is to have the siren sound four or five times during a day. It makes asking for money a whole lot easier. Reading statistics is one thing, hearing a resident say "man you guys are busy, it seams like the siren never stops ringing" is priceless.
Just think of the air raid siren as advertsing to bring in customers. And the next time a resident complains about ringing the siren, look at it as an opportunity to get one more resident on your side. It will make your next trip to council much more enjoyable.
08-17-2000, 05:01 PM #29Neptune 33Firehouse.com Guest
What budget? We don't have a budget from our Bourough council! Our money is raised from fundraisers and donations!
08-17-2000, 05:24 PM #30HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
No budget, that is even better yet. We just finished building a new rescue unit and pruchased some jaws. When we first thought about doing it, we figured on at least three years of fund raising to make th purchase.
Thanks to an exceptionally busy year where the siren rang on average twice a week, and a well placed news article, we were able to raise $23,000 in the first three days of our efforts. As a volunteer, when people know you are working, they are a lot more willing to support you.
08-17-2000, 07:01 PM #31CFD14Firehouse.com Guest
Good points made on both sides. One that I haven't seen is siren location on the apparatus. I had an Ex Jake from NYFD come into my shop in his motorhome. He was almost totally deaf, which he told me "was from years and years of airhorns and sirens." Our appartus that have the sirens out front or under the hood aren't too bad for the ears, but when they are roof mounted or in the lightbar, its hard to hear at the scene for all the ringing in your ears. As someone also stated, it is hard to hear radio traffic when its blaring from the bay to the scene. When you cover almost 550 sq. miles like we do, that is a long time to have a siren blaring. And yes someone will bring up earplugs, ear muffs or head phones. The 1st two hurt radio traffic, the last one isn't pratical for many departments. Still the best point is CYA. If in doubt do as the law states in your AOR.
08-22-2000, 04:01 AM #32391HDFirehouse.com Guest
Where does it say that you need to respond WITH lights and sirens?
How many calls, say, in the last month that you responded to were TRUE life-threatening situations?
And if you had one, would the use of lights and sirens made any difference in the final outcome?
Before anyone chimes in with "if it were your family", or "your house on fire", stick to the facts and not emotions!
Fact is, very little of the Fire Service response today is for true life threatening emergencies, and studies prove that the time saved using the warning equipment has no proven benefit to the final outcome of the incident.
On the TV show RESCUE 911, the differences made in those situations were the result of interventions done by people on the scene, long before the arrival of authorities.
So keep everyone happy by not even using the warning equipment on the vehicles, and staff a duty crew with pagers to avoid sounding the all call siren. But then, it wouldn't be any fun?
08-22-2000, 10:11 AM #33Neptune 33Firehouse.com Guest
Oh, so now you want to criticize not only my point of view, but my departments? We have a policy, lights and sirens until you reach the scene or hear that it is nothing. How do you know if it's life threating until you get there? You don't. If a car would slam into the side of your rig, and you wouldn't have had your siren on, but had your lights on, you would be at fault! Just remember, until someone is there to tell you it is nothing, you better get there to find out for sure.
08-22-2000, 03:49 PM #34391HDFirehouse.com Guest
No, I am not criticizing you or your department. Everybody should be taking a look at the use of lights and sirens. As I said, there is NOTHING proven that the use of such has had any positive benefit to a life threatening situation or otherwise.
In response to your question: 'If a car would slam into the side of your rig, and you wouldn't have had your siren on, but had your lights on, you would be at fault!' Fact is, even with your siren on, it would be next to impossible for you to prove that it was necessary if this situation were taken to litigation, and you would STILL probably be held liable. If the siren is off, then why not the lights? And respond obeying all traffic laws, speed limits, etc.?
Again, fire dept. response to life threatening situations is the exception, rather than the rule. Yes, you don't typically know until you get there, but is the time saved by responding lights and siren going to make ANY difference on the final outcome of the incident? Hasn't been proven!
No wonder the community gets annoyed with the persisant noise pollution, when in fact, the bulk of responses aren't even true emergencies.
09-05-2000, 01:25 PM #35DrewboFirehouse.com Guest
I don't belive in electric sirens...Federal Q is the only way to go. We had a debate when I was at college, volunteering at my college town's station, with one of my officers. I said I can clear an intersection better than him with the Q, he liked the electric. In Etown we don't even own an electric siren.
Just wanted to hear some points of veiw.
* God Looked down and
* saw this was bad, it
* was bad, it was Drew
[This message has been edited by Drewbo (edited September 05, 2000).]
09-13-2000, 02:52 PM #36ENGINE18-3Firehouse.com Guest
Here we go:
1. We have Air horns to alert members of a run and we also carry pagers. Between the hours of 6am & 10pm the horns go off for every call. from 10pm to 6am they are shut off. Because the residents who live by the firehouse complained enough so the borough ordered they turned off. If it was up to me they would go off 24/7.
2. We run with lights on the whole time and sirens only in heavy traffic and at intersections.
3. The Federals over the electric sirens any day. Because Fedrals= Fire, Electric=police
FF Greg Grudzinski
Oaklyn Fire Dept.
09-13-2000, 05:24 PM #37firefighter2Firehouse.com Guest
In my department we have both pagers and a siern. We run fire/mva including medical calls as a first responder. Our siern goes off on the fire/mva tones only via the pager. Medical tones dont set off the alarm. The siern is set to go off 24/7 and at noon everyday as a test. We have had complaints and we said that it still goes off as a secondary system to alert our FEW (9) volunteers that there is a call. Thanks to the siern a couple off weeks ago my pager went wako and didnt go off, and the siern woke me up at 3 AM. Until we get more volunteers in my department in my opinion we have no choice but to keep it going.
As for lights and siern, during heavy traffic times (thats what most members want) but when I am driving I make sure they are going!!
This is my opinion only and not of my department
09-13-2000, 05:43 PM #38vollieffFirehouse.com Guest
Just curiuos if your tought the same things in your area as I am. Not meant to be an attack, just curiuos
1) We're tought that EVERY call is an ememrgency until otherwise proven. AFA, 1050I's etc. Complacency (spelling??) WILL kill you...Just ask the the FF's in chicago who took an AFA as not an emergency and paid with there lives
2) Every second DOES count if it does turn out to be an actual emergency. 30 seconds can make the differency between life and death, and property loss. If it takes 2.5 minutes (one of our training films depicted this in a test burn) for a fire to develop from a smoldering cigeret in a chair to a flash over, wouldn't 30 seconds mean alot?
3) If you don't use full lights and sirens and it turns out to be an emergency. Your liable for alot more than just some residents ****ed at some noise (not to belittle residents).
Your comments would be appreciated
09-16-2000, 11:55 AM #39391HDFirehouse.com Guest
Emergency, life threatening?
You state you are taught(correct spelling) that every call is an emergency until proven otherwise. Do you have the specifics on this, written policy, state law, etc? If so, does this constitute the use of lights and sirens?
No where did I say to be complacent, are you implying that the chicago firefighters would be alive today if they had used lights and sirens?
30 seconds CAN make a difference, prove it. Test burns are done under controlled circumstances, so you would defend red light and siren response because of the 2.5 minute flashover from this film? The best firefighter in this scenario is a sprinkler head, proven.
For life safety, a properly working smoke detector.
Who exactly is going to be holding you liable if you don't respond red light and siren to an emergency? If for some reason when leaving the station, the warning equipment did not work, would you not respond for fear of being held liable for not getting there in a timely fashion? If responding during a blizzard are red lights and sirens going to get you there any faster to make a difference?
Sounds like mother nature would have to be held liable in this case if you were 30 seconds too late.
Again, fire service response to true life-threatening emergencies is the exception rather than the rule, and nothing has been proven that red light, siren response has made ANY positive difference of the outcome in these situations. Therefore, the bulk of responses do not necessitate red light or siren, and if it is truly life-threatening, red lights and siren aren't going to make a difference anyhow.
So why wake up the entire town, when the alerting device is meant for a small portion of the population, who in fact are responding 9 out of 10 times to a non-emergent situation?
09-20-2000, 02:26 PM #40vollieffFirehouse.com Guest
actually, yes our policies for fire co.'s, not ambulance is every one is an emergency until otherwise proven. and as for the lights and siren, in my state there is a huge liability on the road for running just lights, I don't agree with it, but that's how it is, if you run lights, your siren must be on, no if ands or butts. If your lights are on and your siren isn't, and someone hits you, you are at fault, not them, I think its stupid, but that's the way it is here.
As for the false alarms and such, that's why our area sends a line officer or police car to the seen directly and he reports his finding to county who interns reports to us. by the time our trucks are ready to pull out, we ussually know what is going on and respond accordingly. if he sees nothing and it's a AFA, we resond without lights sirens, If he response smoke showing, we go full. Most of our calls that are not emergencies, we are recalled before we leave the station, sometimes in route, but we will not respond without lights and sirens until we know what is going on at the location.
As far as the chicargo firefighters, I was refering to an incident that happen in an appartment building were someone was setting of the alarm for over 30 times in a short period, they got complacent and used the elevator to the fire floor, when they encountered smoke without haveing there packs on, they got off the elevator except for one guy, he went to the lower floor as he should have and the others tried to pack up, long story short they thought they lost a guy in the smoke and ended up dead. we are taught that complacentcy will kill you in any form.
On the second piont, yes I do believe that seconds count, In my area running lights and siren gives you that extra 30 seconds that can make a difference in life and proporty. I beleive its better safe than sorry when there isn't any prove EITHER way that lights make a difference.
09-20-2000, 02:50 PM #41vollieffFirehouse.com Guest
If one of our trucks had a problem with the warning equipment, it would be used, but put out of service afterwards until it was fixed (not a blown bulb or someting). As far as liability, departments in our state have been called in by lawyers looking to get every bit of money possible, and try everything including sueing the fire dept. It's called going fishing and hoping you get something. As far as the blizzard, that is considered an act of god and is beyond our controll, so therefor, no we wouldn't be liable in any way, but mother nature actually would, and I don't think you can sue her, if you could lawers would be more than happy to.
Just some stupids laws here you may want to know.
A firefighter on the fire ground can be sued PERSONALY for any neglegence no matter how small.
You run lights and siren and get into an accident, you are at fault, no matter what the circumstances, i.e. he runs a red light you have the green, sorry your at fault.
I don't agree with some of them, but I can agree that every call should be treated as an emergency until otherwise proven.
In our state, they outline what is an emergency and what is the proper response. If we don't follow these laws, we can and probly will be sued in this day and age. I'm ashamed that that's the way we treat our fellow man, but it's a fact of life.
339hd, please fell free to email me personal if you would like to debate this topic farther. I'm also interested in what state your in and if your state has some of the same stupid laws we do.
09-23-2000, 02:35 AM #42da6499Firehouse.com Guest
I think a lot of people are misunderstanding you're question, if I'm understanding the question right you are refering to a stationary siren located at the firehouse used to notify the firefighters of a run. We had to disconnect ours because firefighters were not listening to pages before setting it off. For example dispatch accidently toned our dept. for another one once and it got set off. Besides it was kind of redundent to use the siren and pagers. I would like to reconnect it for public emergencies though (Tornado i.e.).
09-23-2000, 04:26 AM #43RDWFIREFirehouse.com Guest
Some of you still missed the point of this discussion. It is not about trucks, lights and sirens, it is about how you are "called out". We dispatch with pagers only. the siren and coded air horn departed in the late 70's. A tradition missed, but not needed anymore.
Just my opinion.
BE safe. The dragon lurks!!!!!
[This message has been edited by RDWFIRE (edited September 23, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by RDWFIRE (edited September 23, 2000).]
09-23-2000, 10:12 PM #44HFDPOST321Firehouse.com Guest
in my town we have an old air raid siren that alerts volunteers. it sounds once for a long duration for an ambulance call and 10 short durations for a fire call. where my post is located there are still aid raid sirens around the city but they are strictly used for civil defense now.
Deputy Chief James Ulrich
Hagerstown Fire Department Explorer Post 321
The opinions expressed here are my own and may not be those of my department.
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