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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber grains's Avatar
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    Default Federal Q Siren Studies

    Our apparatus committee would like to spec a mechanical siren for our new fleet. We are trying to find justification for the Federal Q (or other similar mechanical) siren.

    If somebody has access to or knows where I can find information on advantages of mechanical sirens over electronic sirens, I would greatly appreciate it.

    I know that electrical draw on the mechanical sirens are higher, but this is not going to be a problem for the apparatus we are specifying.

    Thanks.
    What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?

    Apparatus Operator
    Salem Fire Department
    IAFF Local 314


  2. #2
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    I fire truck isnt a fire truck without a Q.

    Winding up the Q at 2am is somthing you dont want to do.

  3. #3
    Forum Member tbonetrexler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ledebuhr1

    Winding up the Q at 2am is somthing you dont want to do.

    But it is really fun to do , even if you get b!tched at by the neighbors!
    Do a little dance, make a little rum, Italian Ice! Italian Ice!

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  4. #4
    Forum Member Chauffeur6's Avatar
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    Mechanical sirens are louder and have more focused and penetrating sound waves than an electronic siren does (including the electronic version of the Q). Therefore, they are more effective especially in today's world of highly insulated and soundproofed cars with high wattage sound systems. There's good reason they're still around today even with the advent of all types of electronic sirens, and it's more than just a "tradition" thing. Air horns are in a similar category. I've heard people say many times that they can hear the Q and air horns, but never hear the electronic siren. Think about your own experiences of hearing fire trucks from a considerable distance that have both sirens going...more often than not, you hear the Q and horns but not the electronic, even if you know for sure it's operating.

    Read this page for a little more technical info.

    http://www.timberwolfsirens.com/sirenBasics.htm
    Last edited by Chauffer6; 09-10-2006 at 12:42 AM.

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    Well, no matter what I say here, someone is going to argue with me about this, but whatever.

    http://www.timberwolfsirens.com/sirenBasics.htm

    That explains it very well, and it is another brand of mechanical sirens.
    A siren like a Q is a huge difference from an electronic one. I have been driving down the road before and could see the engine coming the other way and never heard its e-Q2B, sure it does sound like a real Q but doesnít work quite the same. A real Q or similar really penetrates a vehicle so the driver can hear it (read the link, it explains it, no need for me to) Also something to consider (maybe I am recalling this from my memory wrong) if you are responding on the highway and are going fast enough your electronic (ie. e-Q2B or similar) becomes useless because of the sound waves being compressed. Based on the way a mechanical siren works you wont run into those kind of problems, though I doubt most of the time you wont being going fast enough for that to be an issue.
    So, the e-Q2B, sure it sounds like a Q2b but sure doesnít work like one, it just does not cut it IMO, not on a Engine, Truck, or larger rescue anyways. I could understand seeing it on Chiefs vehicle or something smaller like that.

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    Ha Ha Chauffer6, you beat me to it

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6
    Mechanical sirens are louder and have more focused and penetrating sound waves than an electronic siren does (including the electronic version of the Q). Therefore, they are more effective especially in today's word of highly insulated and soundproofed cars with high wattage sound systems. There's good reason they're still around today even with the advent of all types of electronic sirens, and it's more than just a "tradition" thing. Air horns are in a similar catagory. I've heard people say many times that they can hear the Q and air horns, but never hear the electronic siren. Think about your own experiences of hearing fire trucks from a considerable distance that have both sirens going...more often than not, you hear the Q and horns but not the electronic, even if you know for sure it's operating.

    Read this page for a little more technical info.

    http://www.timberwolfsirens.com/sirenBasics.htm
    What he said. I hate electronics. They just do not work. Some in my departments think that the electronic is the only way to go, even though all apparatus are equipped with the Q2B (except staff vehicles). Sure there is an electrical issue, but if your specifications call for it in the build there should not be a problem.
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  8. #8
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    I think the electrical issues will decrease due to the addition of LED lighting. The Q is the only way to go on a piece of fire apparatus.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  9. #9
    Forum Member Chauffeur6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I think the electrical issues will decrease due to the addition of LED lighting. The Q is the only way to go on a piece of fire apparatus.
    That's true also. Over the years, the amp draw has actually decreased as we've gone away from halogen bulbs and, even worse, those old sealed beams, to strobes and LEDs instead. Also, the alternators are higher amperage to begin with, the electrical systems are much better managed electronically and with load managers and the batteries are most likely bigger and better. Granted, there are quite a bit more electrical systems now than there were years ago, but on balance I'd say these trucks can better deal with the amp draw of a Q than they could years ago. I'm sure many of us have seen the draw so bad, that the lightbars have actually stopped rotating while the Q was being cranked up! Nowadays the headlights barely even flicker.

  10. #10
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Oldie but goodie (sorta)

    Chauffer, we have a 1980 ALF Water Chief aerial. It is always a treat to see the headlights dim as the siren pedal is stepped on .
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  11. #11
    Forum Member Chauffeur6's Avatar
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    We had a bad problem with our 1990 Pierce ladder, which had 8 sealed beam rotators (16 bulbs total) in the 4 lightbar pods that would literally stop rotating when the siren was cranked. We yanked them all out and replaced them with newer style halogen rotators (only 8 bulbs and lightweight plastic reflector modules) and the problem stopped. It's amazing how much draw a few seemingly insignificant bulbs really have, not to mention the motors to turn them all.

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    Anyone heard a truck with two Q's? I have seen pics of them, but never heard one. I cant imagine how loud it must be.

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    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    At one time federal signal put out a monthly or quarterly newsletter kind of thing. One of them had a very extensive article put out by their engineering department that showed all of the acoustical benefits of a mechanical siren compared to an electronic one.

    I checked out their website and do not see any of them archived. I will dig around my files. If I can find it, I will scan it an post or email.
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  14. #14
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Mt Horeb WI has 2 rigs IIRC with 2 Q's on them one is on the back cover of FAJ this month.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    Thanks Weruj1,

    Do the operators need hearing protection for a truck like that?

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    If you want all the drivers of cars and trucks
    to pull over to the right for youfor you
    screw those electronic sirens
    And get your rigs FedQ's!

    To quote Marvel Comics' Stan Lee...

    e'nuff said!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  17. #17
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    While there are a handful of rigs out there with dual Q's, many times the 2nd Q is actually an electronic siren with the mechanical shroud over it. I've seen this a lot ... in fact, the engine that's 2nd due to my house has this.

  18. #18
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    I like using both. The Q is great, but it is "mono-tone". The right electric has a wider audio range.

    BUT the problem not being addressed here is that most electrics out there are nothing more than car alarm modified junk.

    Here is Clark County Fire using both in Las Vegas- Rescue 18 in Vegas

    If you are using a Unitrol Touchmaster, it will clear traffic.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 09-10-2006 at 02:26 PM.

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber grains's Avatar
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    OK, there have been a lot of responses, and I thank you for each one.

    I had heard that LA, or some other So Cal department, did a study on this. I'm looking, but still can not find it. If anybody knows what I'm referring to, could you please point me in that direction?

    I have testimonials from manufacturers, but it would also be nice to have supporting documentation from a neutral party and not just a company trying to justify a product that they sell.

    Although it is interesting, I can assure you that our department is not looking to have dual Q sirens.

    Thanks again.
    What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?

    Apparatus Operator
    Salem Fire Department
    IAFF Local 314

  20. #20
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    In early June of this year, I was in a large urban city that had some of it's apparatus equiped with the e-Q2 and some equiped with the mechnical Q.

    IMO the e-Q2 is nothing like the attention grabbing mechanical Q.

    My department has recently placed an order for a new engine. There was some discussion as to whether to get the e-Q2 or the mechanical as the rest of large apparatus pieces have. The mechanical won. In fact when the Chief was explaining the specs and who appeared to have won the bid, there were only two questions asked by the Village Board. 1) Is the truck going to be RED (I know this will open a can of worms here) and 2) Will it have a mechanical Q? (asked by yours truly).

    All of our rigs are equipped with either a 100 or 200 watt electronic in addition to the Qs on the large pieces as well as Grover Stuttertone Air horns.
    Even though we are in a small town in northwestern Vermont we get a high volume of traffic, especially 18-wheelers right through the middle of town. I have noticed on more than one occasion how the traffic grinds to halt when the Q is wailing and the air horns are blasting. Of course, keep in mind you need to use some common sense on when, where and how to use the warning devices. I would highly recommend not using everthing at 3:00 am to a report of "smoke smell in the area of......"

    I rest my case
    Brian K. Savage
    Fire Commissioner
    Swanton, VT

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