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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Firefighter430's Avatar
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    Default mechanical station sirens?

    How many of your stations have mechanical station sirens?

    Our old unit that was in the 5hp range was struck by lightning last year and we just got a new one but have not installed it due to weather. The old one had a saw blade mounted under the base and didnít carry the sound that well. The new unit is also a 5HP unit but it has horns.

    In the old days these units were the primary dispatch system for rural fire departments. How many still use them for dispatch? Our unit will have duel use. To alert members to calls of course and to alert the town when storms, tornadoes, or any other danger to the town are possible. Planning on having public training on what to listen for and what to do.

    Wondering if anyone out there has there siren wired to blow when the radio tone goes off? Some stations in the county have there system set up to work that way during daytime.
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  2. #2
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    Lightbulb

    We have a siren mounted on the city water tower. It is operated by remote control via phone line from the fire station. It also has a timer that sets it off at noon and 6 p.m. as is community tradition.

    Used for major fires during the day but mainly for tornado warnings and such. Several area departments have sirens that are set off by tones but they use a different tone than pagers and central dispatch only sets them off during daytime. No night time sirens in our county accept for tornado or other emergency.

    Ours is a Federal with horns but I can't remember the horsepower. I have to remember to reset the clock for day light savings time. We also have about one quarter of the county covered by a siren system for the nuclear power plant. These are tested once a month and a computer tells us if they work. They are also available for natural disasters and can be activated from three different locations.

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  3. #3
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    We have a Federal speaker system that is generally located in the center of town. It replaced our old airhorn system. We made a digital recording of the airhorn blowing and that is the sound that is played over the speakers. From 7am to 11pm, that goes for all fire calls. Between 11pm and 7am, it only sounds for certain types of calls. We have 2 sets of tones, 1 for the horns and 1 for the pagers. Dispatcher only has to hit 1 button that does both tones, or 1 button that does only the pager tones. 11-7 is the shift that the midnight dispatcher works and that's how the time got setup that way.

    We also have a mechanical roof siren on our firehouse which is activated by the same radio tones. My other station in town is across the street from the Federal system so they don't use their mechanical roof siren, although it is hooked to their building alarm so if you hear their siren, their fire alarm has activated.

    The Federal system has tones for civil defense alerts/warnings and also has a PA feature that allows broadcast messages.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member StayBack500FT's Avatar
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    We have an old Federal Signal Thunderbolt. We used to have it hit on a set of tones that followed our pager tones. Now we hit it manually when it is advantageous to use it (hunting season, etc.). It also doubles as a tornado warning siren.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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  5. #5
    Forum Member mustang911's Avatar
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    We have one on top of our town hall(old fire house), and it used to go off with 1 Hi-lo tone for the ambulance and multiple for fire trucks and multiple units and it went off at all hours of the day(and night). But thanks to stupid complaints, it does not go off after a certain time at night and it only goes off for the fire truck, making us more reliable on our pagers!
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  6. #6
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Unhappy Not Any More.......................... ......

    Aren't a lot of them in our area any more. They were/are tripped by a tone reciever, thus requiring multiple tones for each station. Our system has the call announced over the dispatch channel prior to the tones going out, then announced again after all tones have cleared. If we were 3rd or 4th due on a box somewhere, we would be on the street before the siren blew. And Mustang, you ought to be up north sometime and hear 10,18,13, go at the same time, they must have 6 sirens between them.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member mustang911's Avatar
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    I haven't heard Graceham's or Thurmont's sirens blow, Usally I try to stay local and if I don't I switch my pager to monitior. The way ours was setup, if multiple tones went off, that started the multiple hi-lo just like if it was a call for just a engine. Maybe I should go up there more often!
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  8. #8
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    The majority of the FD's (about 99% of them) here on Long Island (the 'burbs east of NYC) still utilize their station sirens as a back-up to pagers. As with others, most districts have been prudent in adjusting the timeframe when the horn blows although there are a few depts. that still blow the horn 8 times @ 3 AM for an ambulance call
    (and the 2 or more subsequent manpower calls after that)
    ...where my house is located, I can hear (clearly) the sirens from 6 yes SIX different depts. including 2 of those that blow their siren @ 3 AM for ambulance calls...

    People will always argue & say "you guys have pagers nowadays, you don't need horns (sirens) anymore"...sounds like a valid argument but with the enormous radio congestion here in the Northeast not only from public safety communications but all the cell phones, Nex-tels, etc., it is not uncommon for our pager activation signals to get "lost in the shuffle"....

    My hometown fire district which has 3 stations used to have the worst radio communications...we had our own dispatcher who was about 3-4 miles from my house...he would hit the tones & you would get the voice alert for a dept. 20 miles away 'cause the county dispatcher put out 20X more watts than our dispatcher. There were MANY times the horn would sound & I'd call the dispatcher" hey uh Ronnie, we got a call???" He'd then retone it & everyone would get the page. Without the horn, we would have never known there was an alarm. Luckily, the dept. upgraded their radios & this problem has been diminished..not eliminated but diminished...what can you expect with almost 100 FD's activating their alarms on 1 frequency??? Although we're eliminating that problem now 'cause everyone is getting their OWN high band frequency...which none of use can communicate on...UYY...PROGRESS...

    And yes, partly the reason is also tradition although the aforementioned radio issue is the main reason for still blowing our horns (OOPS...sirens..that didn't sound good...

    That's my 2 cents...STAY SAFE

  9. #9
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    Our department uses the outdoor warning sirens for both fire and weather. We have pagers but still use the siren during the day. The dispatch center automatically sets the siren off (via radio, after pagers are alerted) between the hours of 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM and during the night if we do not acknowledge a call within 5 minutes. We set-up our sirens on a different radio channel than our pagers, this gives us redundancy for alerting firefighters in case the pager channel fails. We used Genave radio siren controls and they have worked very well for us, plus they were much cheaper than Federal Signals options. You can find them at www.sirencentral.com

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber Firefighter430's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I have heard of a town in the area that told the local fire department to never blow their siren again no matter what. There were complaints from somebody and they said no more noise from the horn.
    "Illegitimis non carborundum."

    - Gen. Joseph Stilwell
    (Lat., "Don't let the *~#%&S grind you down.")

  11. #11
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    We have 2 sirens, one at the station and one in a neighborhood at the other end of the Township. They are activated by tones that follow our pager tones. They are on a timer so they are silent between 2230-0630. They have an up & down tone for our calls and a long steady tone for tornado warnings.
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  12. #12
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Actually, you may want to do a search, because I believe this has been discussed before.

    We do not have one on our station and most likely will not have one on our new station if/when it's built. We used to have one, but it quit working and was too expensive to fix, so we removed it. Our other station still has one on their station, but is no longer used. About 8 years ago we quit using them. There really isn't a need for them with everyone carrying pagers. We still have the Civil Defense sirens that are used for Tornados and such, but that is it. Many from the other station were angry when the chief said no more station sirens, but could not come up with vaklid arguments why they should still be used........

  13. #13
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    I've never heard a complaint about the siren waking people up, after all, that's what its supposed to do! People have complained quite often however, that it doesn't go off. And the number of people who used to bring coffee to fire scene has dropped also. Used to be that not even a minute after the whistle began to blow, people would call our house to see what was going on... Small towns, seems the siren was a strong social activity. Coffee shop was always busy in the morning if the whistle blew in the middle of the night. Less people show up now, there was a man who always came out and stopped traffic so the trucks could get out. Guess its more important for tradition than actual safety in most places, advertisment if you will, tells people to get off the streets.

    Currently our station has a Federal Model SD-10A mounted on a series of poles behind the station. A massive siren it is,
    weighs no less than 500lbs! People were used to the town using a "Bobcat" high-pressure steam whistle mounted on a
    creamery. That was used till 1975 so they commonly call the siren a "Fire Whistle". You can hear SD10 at least eleven miles
    on a clear-cold night! I was in town two years ago, and we were dispatched for an explosion in an assisted living facility. The
    power had been browning out and surging all night, so the explosion was simply the generator kicking on and off. While on
    scene it was mentioned that the siren never went off. Thought it was odd since it hadn't broken down in the 30+ years it was
    installed. So we went back and repeatedly tapped at the activator. Nothing... Had county activate the timer via radio. Nothing.
    The surging had burned both out all the timers and radio boxes.

    So it's been silent for two years, we used it for a fireman's funeral last summer. But since we've built a new station they are not
    able to give three-phase electric for our single phase wiring. So it was shut off.

    We plan a 3-Phase electric system to be installed over the summerjust to run the siren due to lack of radio-towers adequet pager use, and the addition of new timers and radios to activate it.
    Although, it may be cheaper to just buy a new siren that can be used on single-phase systems. The Federal Model 2 was a
    thought; the sirens with the horns sound like STH-10's. The most popular sirens in North East PA seem to be Model
    STH-10's, Model 5, and I've seen one Model S10 on an antiqued fire house in Eagles Mere, PA.

    The Specifications on the SD-10 are as follows
    240 VAC, 3 Phase
    60Hz
    Diameter 46"
    Height 80"
    Weight 538 lbs
    Motor: 3-Phase ball bearing induction, dual tone
    Power: 10 HP
    High Freq. 694 Hz
    Low Freq. 521 Hz
    Tone: 121 dB

    Housing:
    Two truncated conical projectors mounted in opposition to each other, and separated by spacer fins. The space between the
    truncated conical projectors is partially enclosed by a circular band of sheet metal. The siren is fitted with a mesh screen across
    the air intake at the base, and around the circumference of the stator to prevent obstructions from entering the mechanism.
    Both the 694 and 521 Hz Frequencies are produced when the siren is operating at top speed.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by blueeighty88; 03-18-2004 at 08:08 PM.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber 0ptical42's Avatar
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    We still have our federal on top of our original station and an electrical one on top of another. I don't know the manufacturers though. Since we all have pagers, it is set to a delay of 50 seconds. This is to allow it to be used as a timer for when the first engines should leave the station as well as a back-up to the pagers. Since our district is decently large, it takes a bit for people to get to the station. When the siren stops blowing at around a minute and a half past the initial dispatch, the first engine is supposed to then leave the station unless the engine was at full capacity beforehand in which case it leaves when it is full.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Fire40man's Avatar
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    I did a search and didn't find anything on this matter. Please help me understand what these sirens are for?
    '77 likes to stir up the ghost.!!!!

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  17. #17
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Fire40man
    I did a search and didn't find anything on this matter. Please help me understand what these sirens are for?
    '77 likes to stir up the ghost.!!!!
    I ain't afraid of no ghosts...........

  18. #18
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I think 40 was just lazy!
    Look Here

    This is just one of the threads that I saw in reference to station sirens. Just do a search for "station siren". There will be other threads that do not pertain to this that show up, but you should be able to look at the titles of the threads to see which ones apply.......

  19. #19
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    Here in Vermont I know of a department that is still using theirs.

    Springfield blasts out the box number on what seems to be an oversized airhorn...Can hear it for miles.

    Barre City Fire still has a horn attached to their station, hopefully they will be taking it with them to the new building. I'd love to see it put into use

  20. #20
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