Why do fire departments still sound sirens?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rdowns, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #1
    I recently moved and am only a block away from the local fire department. Why the hell do they still sound those ear shattering sirens? Is this necessary in this day with cellphones and beepers?
     
  2. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

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    #2
    With the likelihood of some less than intelligent person not seeing the truck, there would be an accident. These days with frivolous lawsuits, prudence dictates they sound loud to be heard. Then if a driver gets hit, its more likely their fault.

    And there are those that jack their stereo's loud and wouldn't hear a bomb blast :p
     
  3. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #3
    It depends on the area. I currently live across from a fire station, and they use it as a noon siren and to call people to the station because of a fire. In my home town they used to do the same thing, but then they got a system to alert firefighters and EMTs to fires using specialized radios. Each "team" had a different series of tones that would alert which "team" was to report, then to where (as it was a volunteer fire department). I believe that many places in the US have not been able to upgrade due to funding issues, or there are geographical concerns that prevent those systems from being reliable. I currently live in a mountainous region, and not only do cell phone act weird, but so does AM and FM radio (FM would be what the upgraded systems use).

    In some places, they do just keep the noon time siren as it is a tradition.

    I believe he means the loud siren at the station, not the siren on the trucks.

    TEG
     
  4. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #4
    Considering how long my SMS takes to get to my phone sometimes, the house would burn down before I get anything. :eek:
     
  5. gonyr macrumors 6502

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    Jul 9, 2006
    Location:
    Niagara County, NY
    #5
    I'm going out on a limb here, but I'd guess it's so people know there's a fire.

    I'm being (somewhat) serious, too. I don't think it's to summon firefighters anymore, for the reasons you suggested. It's probably more of a warning to those walking or driving nearby that a fire truck could be roaring out of the driveway at any moment
     
  6. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #6
    Yes, that is what I am referring to.
     
  7. Silver-Fox macrumors 65816

    Silver-Fox

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    #7
    I guess it could be something to do with tradition?
     
  8. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

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    #8
    If you are indeed talking about the station, then New York is unusual. In Georgia, there is only the warning tones that announce the level of the emergency, and they are short in duration. 1 alarm up to 5 alarm fire.
     
  9. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #9
    I know that in the places I've been where they have the siren, the first time it sounds, the team on duty takes the call. The Second, brings the next team on, etc. Most places I've been only have volunteer fire departments, but I expect the same is true for regular fire departments, but when the team on duty is called, since they are there, they don't actually use the siren, only when the need the other shifts to report.

    TEG
     
  10. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #10
    Volunteer fire departments have been using that system since before you were born.

    Have you asked the local fire chief if they still rely on volunteers to respond??
     
  11. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
    #11
    It is a volunteer department, in fact, all of Long Island is. I think I'll take a walk over and ask on Saturday.
     
  12. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #12
    Well, I wouldn't be a sour-patch over it... After all, if you collapse at random, choke on a nerd, slip on a banana peel, lose your cat in the oak, or get broadsided by an 18 wheeler, they will be the folks saving you butt.
     
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #13
    [​IMG] Too ****ing funny. :p
     
  14. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #14
    A siren is still a cheap solution, since beepers and cellphones can and do get lost.

    When the siren sounds, it is ingrained to act quickly without having to spend time looking at and reading a message before reacting. Darn quick way to alert everyone in the vicinity of the station to quickly get ready.

    The beepers and cellphones are better when you do not want to and alert to be visible to the general public.
     
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #15
    Correct.

    When electronic aids shut down, just go to the fire station for further instruction.
     
  16. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Denton, TX
    #16
    My parents have property on a lake in the mountains, there is no cell phone reception up there. Most places don't have phones, some don't even have running water. The loud siren is the only fast and reliable way to alert the volunteers of an emergency.

    We don't have water service at our place, we just got a phone about two years ago. Heck, the place didn't even have a foundation until about 12-13 years ago, before then it was sitting on stacked cinder blocks.
     
  17. whitecat812 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    #17
    Main Reason Is.....

    One of the main reasons fire departments still sound the siren, even with pagers and cell phones, is if a firefighter is doing outside work or doesn't have
    their pager on them for whatever reason they can still be alerted that something is going on. Being a volunteer fire fighter myself, I rather not carry a pager while working outside or under a vehicle...etc.... Most districts will replace the first pager if it gets broken, but the second time it's on us at $400-$700 a pager. The question is....if a beautiful sunny day was happening and everyone's out doing yard stuff or whatever and there was no whistle for someone to show up if you had an emergency....would it have been worth not having those few times the siren goes off????

    As far as the noon siren goes...it is tradition alongside of getting the siren to move so it doesn't seize from elements and lack of use.

    Hope this helped.....
     
  18. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

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    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #18
    If you are a fireman and you hear the siren go off then you know there is a fire, if you get a text on your phone then it could be anything.

    If you are outside, or doing something noisy, then you can hear the siren when it goes off.

    If you are asleep at the time then the siren will wake you up.

    etc.etc.

    It's a nice loud simple sign that there is a fire. When it can make the difference between life and death you need something simple, foolproof and, in this case, loud!
     
  19. Keebler macrumors 68030

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    Jun 20, 2005
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    Canada
    #19
    very necessary:

    1. help round up any firefighters working outside and not in (as someone else mentioend)

    and 2. someone else mentioned this as well - warning to outside civilians and traffic.

    Where I live, there's a station near a busy road. As soon as that siren goes off, folks stop their cars and wait for the trucks to come out and head off.

    Sure, the station could just wait for the trucks to fire off their sirens, but I bet that would delay the cars stopping.
     
  20. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    NYC
    #20
    Even where I live in Connecticut—one of the wealthiest and more developed states—radio reception is patchy and cell phone service is a joke, but you can hear that siren howling no problem. Our fire department is all-volunteer, so the more people they can get to show up at the station, the better than can address the fire.

    It also serves as a good warning that the roads are about to be filled with jacked up super-swamper pickup trucks with flashing blue lights, soon to be followed by some massive tanker trucks.
     
  21. dilailamams macrumors member

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    Aug 21, 2008
    #21
    thats really annoying my ears. isn't there more car accidents by the tearing siren sound
     
  22. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #22
    I'm a little confused by all of this. You're saying that every time they need the firefighters to respond to an emergency they sound a siren?

    In the midwest, there are sirens at many fire stations but when they go off it means there's a tornado coming.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Location:
    Palookaville
    #23
    I haven't heard one in years. All of the towns around here (volunteer fire departments) gave up sirens 20 years ago or more in favor of radios then pagers and now cell phones. Where I grew up each of the small towns located near each other had to have different siren sounds to avoid confusion. Our was a wild and very loud a-ooo-gah.

    Funny story. Many years ago I had an office in a building downtown, about a block from the fire station. One day I had a visitor sitting across my desk from me when the siren sounded. She almost literally dove under the desk. The look on her face was priceless. A child of "duck and cover" presumably!
     
  24. MaxxFordham macrumors newbie

    MaxxFordham

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    #24
    No, that wasn't the question. He was asking about sirens on department buildings (actually, if that's true, then I think he should've said "stations"). And what do you mean by "jack their [stereo is] loud"? That doesn't make sense. Help me out here.
     
  25. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    Location:
    OBJECTIVE reality
    #25
    We have tornado sirens, but they're separate from the ones the fire department uses. Our tornado sirens are stationed all around town, and they sound like those old Civil Defense sirens...you know, the kind that you hear in movies about the blitzkrieg in WWII.
     

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