1. #1
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    Default Fire House Sirens

    We have used for over 100 years our siren to nofify firemen and the community of calls, the pager system is also in use. We have a few residents complaining of the sound. How many other departments are using a department siren and have you received any complaints - If so how was it settled?
    SRadke
    Bayport FD

  2. #2
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    Default Siren Policy

    Following some complaints by residents located near sirens, the department instituted the following guidelines:

    7AM - 10PM.....All dispatches , fire, rescue, SCUBA made by page and municipal siren activation

    10PM - 7AM.....Structure fires only- municipal siren and paging system

    Other alarms-brush, car, dumpster etc. are dispatched by paging system only.

    This municipal department does not run EMS calls; that is handled by an independent First Aid Squad. The length of cycles for the siren system has also been shortened.
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    Default ours

    our siren goes off every call day or night. 3 blows for ems and i think 2 for fire. 4 for both. we can also activate it and give a extra blow if we are by ourselvs at the house. that comes in good when you want to let other guys know that someone is waiting for another(Great at night, but i didn't say that). at 12:00 noon it blows once by comunications for testing on every day but sunday. our comunity has grown to appreciate it, when it goes oos people often ask why its no blowing at 12:00. guess we have a very understanding comunity.
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    Our siren is activated on all fires and MVA's along with our pagers. We run a BLS ambulance service also and calls for ems are dispatched by pagers only. Personally I have not heard of any complaints from our community. My own opinion of firehouse sirens are that they should be taken for what they are intended to be and that is a WARNING device . People need to realize that it is not there just to make a lot of noise and annoy them. It should tell them to be aware that some big red trucks with lights and sirens could be coming their way.
    Stay safe. Joe

  5. #5
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    Default

    I live across the back fence from the station, and when that thing goes off in the middle of the night it wakes you up better than any pager invented.

    No one has complained. One old lady down the road said that apart from the iitial fright, she checks her house and the neighbours, to be sure.

    We sound it every Tuesday at 1900 for training. Last year it was u/s for about 6 weeks. A lot of locals wonered if we had stopped training and got a wee bit worried.

    Don't know what your procedures are, but here a council "Noise Control" official comes out to verify the noise complaint. closest one would be a good 20 minute drive away, so he never hears any thing to worry about..
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
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  6. #6
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    Default

    My firehouse recieved complaints and finally a petition about our firehouse siren. Many of the people that complained or signed the petition moved into the neighberhood knowing full well that there was a firehouse down the street. So the township board of directors finally told us that we had to turn it off between the hours of 2330 and 0630, much to the dismay of the fire company. The truth is that we use a paging system and everyone of the firefighters is issued their own (after completion of firefighter I & II). So it is more of a tradition that we use the fire siren, and it hasn't hurt the numbers of firefighter's showing up for calls at night.
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    Default

    Noise, smells, vibrations etc are covered by the common law civil Tort of Nuisance. There are a variety of things that the complainant has to establish to the required legal standard, but once this has been done, the court can order the nuisance stopped. It is totally legally irrelevant, how long something has been done or who came first to the area, all that matters is that the nuisance is now unreasonable for it to continue in the area. There might also be laws contained in statutes that forbid the nuisance. It is far better to compromise with the neighbours than have a very unpleasant legal battle. If you lived close to a siren that was used for no good reason i.e. simply for the sake of hearing it, I'm sure you would also be annoyed. Having surveyed the current law on the matter, reasonable would be: once a week test during daylight hours, using pagers, radio or mobile phones to contact staff, using the siren for a general emergency alert affecting a majority of residents or failure of the usual staff notification system. Hope this legal impression helps.

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    Default

    Originally posted by sambo
    It is far better to compromise with the neighbours than have a very unpleasant legal battle.
    Or have them cutting wires to the siren relay units....in an attempt to silence them. I've seen it done here....and of course, they could not prove who did it. We had good ideas....but no proof.

    Compromise...a viable alternative.
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    Default A neighbor's "call to action"

    I recall reading an article where a small town dispatched via siren. They received no complaints, but had decided that it might be annoying the community so they stopped using it.

    A week later they got a worried phone call from down the street. The residents of a convent used the siren as a call to prayer. When they heard it, they would stop what they were doing and begin praying for the safety of the firefighters as well as for the victim(s).

    The siren was turned back on.
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    We are a volunteer dept. and we use a pager,plectron, and a siren all of the time.This lets the community know that there is a call along with our members in case someones pager is home on charge or if a person is at work and a call comes in hearing the siren blow lets co-workers know that,that person will be gone.Also try justifying a new truck when people never here the siren blow."Sure you had 200 calls last year I didn't hear the siren blow once"These are just my ideas and not that of my dept.

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    Default

    Actually our department is going thru this very situation.We also have had pagers since the early 80's and the "Fire Horns" atop of our stations to alert firefighters.Due to more and more complaints effective July 1 2002 we will be turning off the horns forever.Yes it will be a learning curve to not rely on the horns but we all signed up to be a volunteer and to carry a pager and thats what we will do.

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    Default firehouse siren

    Our department does not fit sirens to any new Stations these days but most existing stations have sirens. Most are not used these days due to noise regs and the introduction of pagers and house bells. our retained firies have system through their phones which ring a set ring for a fire call as well as their pager is activated.All full time stations don't have sirens, My station is a combined station and still has a siren which we used just recently as a mark of respest for the death of the very last Gallipoli War Veteran (103yrs/old) we sounded the siren for 30 secs. Some smaller towns still use theirs of which my home town still do. Stay safe Guy Dover.

  13. #13
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    Default

    We use pagers and sirens,nobody complains.

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    Default

    The departments I belonged to in Pennsylvania has the siren and paging system. Some residence complained so now they only blow the siren on certain calls such as fires - Accidents, EMS and other calls are pager only.

    Now the department I belong to now in Louisiana goes by pagers only.

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    Default Messed up is what ours is

    Our FD still uses sirens even though everyone has pagers too. The main problem it causes is that when an MVA comes up the sirens are sounded so the FD knows about it. Then about 5 minutes later...after the rescue and 1st out truck leaves the page for the FD and ambulance comes out. So the bus is dispatched anywhere from 5-7 min. late. On one occasion being dispatched late almost cost a level 1 trauma pt their life. She started to fall out on us about 3 minutes from the hospital. That "Golden Hour" stuff is true after-all.

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    From 6a-10p the siren blows for everything. Nothing at night, we dont want to wake the neighbors up (i guess they didnt see the firehouse til after they moved in, they dont like "all the noise")

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    Default

    The municipal department that I worked for had a warble tone that sounded 2 - 3 times, then the PA announcements followed. The local neighbors didnt complain about those because the dB's were adjusted so that you had to be close to the firehouse or have a radio to monitor. Usually passing motorist were louder than our dispatching signals. The only problems we ran across were testing the equipments and audio signal devices before sunrise. To accommodate our neighbors we waited until 7am(time set by city ordinance that allowed noise such as lawnmowers, etc.). Some places may have an ordinance set by EPA or some other type of government organizations that set guidelines. As long as those are followed then the neighbors may have to voice their complaints to the locality governing body.

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    Smile Siren still used today

    One of the stations in our district used a siren for notifying FF until 1985 when the S.O. started paging emergencies. The siren is still in use today and sounds off for 20 seconds Monday thru Saturday @ 12:00 and 17:00 hrs. It was out of service for eight weeks last year and we could not afford to repair it, so many residents and businesses had become use to hearing it they raised the money to repair it. There has been a local siren here since the early 40s - it was a civil defense siren that stood on three 55 foot utility poles until the last 70s when a storm brought it down and it was replaced with the present day Federal Siren (not nearly as loud but it is effective up to mile or so. Pleasant Hill, Louisiana.

  19. #19
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    Default

    Our station siren use to activate for every alarm until the call volume just got to high and then neighbors started to complain. So we decided to stop the siren altogether and went strictly to home "plectrons" and pagers (years ago). Then a group of citizens went to the city council requesting that we continue "blowing the noon siren" so NOW the "NOON SIREN" is the only time it wails. Unless there is some sort of a need to warn the city of some imminent hazard, then it blow for several minutes.(In the area this would be primarily for flooding)

    So, Just don't completely disconnect it, you may need it some day.

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    Default ambiant Noise

    Back in my volly days (pre 1989) we had 2 stations in town the one downtown had an air whistle which would sound out either box locations for gamewell boxes or some sequence for other situations as well as using plectrons and now pagers. We had a neighbor across the street from the firehouse without the whistle who was a 'chowder' member who complained each time the apparatus responded... I after getting his complaint one day took a copy of our state statutes for the operation on apparatus which states we will use all visible and audible warning devices when responding with or without use of the traffic signal which 97% of folks ignore just because its always flashing.... (on a curve) well oday , LOw and behold guess who ran into his neighbors front yard cause he hadnt noticed the Light had changed and the Q woke him up.. lol our freind the complainer, on his way home.. he was lucky we used the siren he might have been either hit or worse....
    Any way, I just moved into an apartment 1/2 a block from the train station, I am going to begin complaining to metro north and amtrack and conrail to stop tooting everytime they enter the station 50 trains aday is very annoying ...lol

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    Default sirens still in operation

    In my department we have a siren that is blown 3 short blasts on all fire calls but doesn't sound on rescue calls. We have other departments in the county that there siren is on a timer and when they get a call it goes of in medium blasts for 2 minutes. Another department in the county has it set up for one long blast. But non of the sirens go off on rescue calls. In my department I don't know of any complaints. the only complaint is one from me when I can't run a call and need sleep because I live directly behind the fire house.
    Seth Firefighter/ paramedic

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    Default

    We also use a pager system, but during the day we will still sound the rooftop siren because some guys may be out working in the yard or may have run downtown without their pagers. Some people complain about the sound but they are just reminded about the importance of this back up system and that for the sake of a little noise someones home or life may be saved. It usually makes them feel like a big enough whinner that no more is said. These same people would be the ones to shoot thier mouths off if you didn't use it and it took alot longer to respond becuase guys didn't know they had a call.

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    We use radios with a pager tone - actually about 3 different tones that wake me up NOW. The good thing with the radios is I live at one end of the area, and keep my gear with me. If the call is in my area, I go out to the paved road (2 miles away) and they can pick me up enroute. Nothing like 2 way communication. It also cuts down on too many responding to small calls - this keeps from wearing out our entire staff.

  24. #24
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    Default How to stop the complaints......

    Some years back, as the community started to grow, we started getting complaints about the siren(we were running 500/750 calls a year then) and we came up with a plan. A couple of members had a knack for being very smooth salesmen(their job) and they became a unofficial committee who, when a siren complaint came in, went to speak with the complaintant, giving an explanation of the system, AND LEAVING A MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION. The quiet, unspoken, message was "if it wakes you up, then come on down and help out". We got several very good members this way, and complaints were minimal. We have since discontinued the use of the siren completely due to a number of factors including high call volume (7,861 last year) and adequate pagers. (yes, 7,861 - look us up @ www.gdvfd18.com)
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    Thumbs up

    I agree with all that's been said here, but in my opinion the siren should be turned off at least at night if not totally if there is a pager system in place. There's no purpose to it and tradition isn't a reason to wake people up in the middle of the night. I've been a volunteer for 10 years (and a paid guy for 2) and our siren hasn't worked for longer than that and our paging system has never failed. In the event communications were down the 911 center will put us on watch mode.

    We need to remember that just because we're the fire department it doesn't give us the right to inconvenience people unnecessarily...in fact, working with the community will keep relations well; taking our authority for granted is not professional nor is it good when it's time to buy a new engine.

    Be safe and take care!

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