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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:02 AM
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I thought that NFPA recommended backup systems when radio alerting was used. Not that you must do what NFPA recommends, but their thinking has always seemed sensible to me.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:06 AM
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Hello from Michigan! Here in Lenawee Co. Most of our departments still use the house sirens for calls and/or weather warnings. Someone here said something that FD's dropped their sirens due to people who complained to the powers that be. I think the complainers out there need to understand that sirens have a purpose (Not just for yuks n giggles) and if they do not like them they can just leave and go where its not so loud for them. FD's shouldn't have to sacrifice on account of people who gripe just for the sake of griping.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsrailfan6130 View Post
Hello from Michigan! Here in Lenawee Co. Most of our departments still use the house sirens for calls and/or weather warnings. Someone here said something that FD's dropped their sirens due to people who complained to the powers that be. I think the complainers out there need to understand that sirens have a purpose (Not just for yuks n giggles) and if they do not like them they can just leave and go where its not so loud for them. FD's shouldn't have to sacrifice on account of people who gripe just for the sake of griping.
I can guarantee the people who are complaining live in newly built housing complexes next to the sirens or something of that sort. Everyone in my area knows we still use them, and are accustomed to them going off through out the night. I myself personally wake up being a firefighter but that's what my body is 'trained" to do.. For crying out loud, I wake up if I hear a whistle going off in the distance, usually from higher up the mountain lol
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old 01-09-2013, 12:46 PM
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RE: "FD's shouldn't have to sacrifice on account of people who gripe just for the sake of griping."

I'd change that to read "Innocent citizens who depend on FD's shouldn't have to sacrifice on account of people who gripe just for the sake of griping.'
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Old 01-09-2013, 3:26 PM
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Default Fire Siren

In the situation where there is a major natural disaster, i.e. hurricane, flood, etc. which causes a major electric outage/blackout, the volunteers don't have electricty to charge or power their pagers. I can still wake up in the middle of the night to the siren/whistle which is powered locally at the firehouse.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:36 AM
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Our FD still uses a siren. It goes off for all our calls. We are in a rural county. We also have 3 or 4 guys that work at the higway garage that do not carry pagers so they rely on the siren. I have been out in my garage working and forgot my pager and heard the siren. We also do fire prevention alot and most of our residents know if they hear the siren something is going on. I think in our area it works and works well.

On the flip side I work in the world of radios and see it vary all accross the state on who has or uses one and who doesn't. It doesn;t take a rocket scientist to realize the city of syracuse with staffed houses would have a siren....
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Fire whistle

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Originally Posted by kb2ztx View Post
We also have 3 or 4 guys that work at the higway garage that do not carry pagers so they rely on the siren. I have been out in my garage working and forgot my pager and heard the siren.
Similar situation here; except our town highway garage has a small siren on the roof... just goes off with the one at the station 1/4 mile down the street, though I'm not sure how it's controlled.


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  #68 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2013, 12:04 PM
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One part of your town's ISO rating is a check for 2 primary alerting means for announcing a fire to the volunteers. Typically pagers are one, the siren is the other.
NFPA 1221 covers ways to alert that meet ISO standards. The main factor is that the entire alerting process must be 100% under control of the fire service. Tone pagers and sirens meet that requirement. Cell phones, commercial text message pagers do not qualify because there is a 3rd party involved.
ISO will give a lower rating when there is only 1 valid alerting system. Insurance companies will look at the lower rating and charge a higher premium. So eliminating the siren could result in higher property insurance costs.
Be careful asking an insurance company "does the rate goes up" without a siren because they will say no rate increase, go ahead. What they should say is you get changed to a new classification, with a different higher rate. But that rate has not gone up. It's been higher than the other siren rate forever.
The rate is the cost scale for the amount of coverage based upon all risk factors. Eliminating the siren changes a risk factor so that a different rate is used. The right question is how much money will the policy cost change if the siren is removed?
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Old 01-26-2013, 8:51 PM
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My FD uses both horn and house sirens 24 hours a day for calls. Although I have Minitor pager , I rely on the whistle to wake me up durning the night. If my pager beeps during the sleeping hours ,most of the time my entire family hears the radio transmission causing them to loose sleep. Kids often can't go back to sleep on a school night. Therefore I somehow hear the distant whistle ,, quietly leave the house for the alarm. Sometimes I have driven the apparatus to the fire , all from hearing the whistle not the pager tones.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy14120 View Post
One part of your town's ISO rating is a check for 2 primary alerting means for announcing a fire to the volunteers. Typically pagers are one, the siren is the other.
NFPA 1221 covers ways to alert that meet ISO standards. The main factor is that the entire alerting process must be 100% under control of the fire service. Tone pagers and sirens meet that requirement. Cell phones, commercial text message pagers do not qualify because there is a 3rd party involved.
ISO will give a lower rating when there is only 1 valid alerting system. Insurance companies will look at the lower rating and charge a higher premium. So eliminating the siren could result in higher property insurance costs.
Be careful asking an insurance company "does the rate goes up" without a siren because they will say no rate increase, go ahead. What they should say is you get changed to a new classification, with a different higher rate. But that rate has not gone up. It's been higher than the other siren rate forever.
The rate is the cost scale for the amount of coverage based upon all risk factors. Eliminating the siren changes a risk factor so that a different rate is used. The right question is how much money will the policy cost change if the siren is removed?
Yeah, No.

While ISO does follow 1221, 1221 differs from what you have said.

6.1.1.3 The failure of any one component of the primary dispatch
circuit shall not cause the secondary dispatch circuit to fail. This pretty much kills the siren as a secondary, as in MOST installations the siren is set off by the regular radio system.

10.3.4 Radio and Voice Amplification Circuits. All primary
and secondary radio and voice amplification circuits shall be
subjected to a voice test twice daily.

How many siren systems are tested daily?

A.8.1.1.5(2) Where the primary dispatch circuit is provided
through a radio system, regardless of whether the system is a
conventional radio, a trunked radio, or a microwave radio, the
system cannot also be used to provide the secondary means of
dispatch.

There is also the minimum calls. A department has to have over 700+ FIRE calls in a year in order to even need a secondary system per NFPA. Fire calls. Not EMS.

Remember also - Sirens are considered OUTDOOR warning sirens. NFPA allows them as such, but says a radio system or other alerting system must be used in CONJUNCTION with sirens. IE, a siren alone does not work as either a primary or secondary system.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:07 AM
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I would add - not having a secondary alerting method, if you need it (ie, over that 700+ Fire call threshold) does NOT mean that you will raising a step on the ISO FSRS. It "may" mean that you will lose points and be in danger of raising your overall rating.
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Old 01-27-2013, 8:19 AM
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Does anyone know if there are any FEMA grants available for purchasing a system or for repairing of an existing house siren ?


Ours died two years ago. Our municipal "electrician" said that the siren went bad , and took the motor starter and contacts out of the control box, and they were never seen again.

We have our suspicions , but trying to locate another set of contacts and a motor starter to conduct tests with a trusted person knowledgeable with old house sirens is difficult.
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Old 01-27-2013, 8:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavmedic View Post
Does anyone know if there are any FEMA grants available for purchasing a system or for repairing of an existing house siren ?


Ours died two years ago. Our municipal "electrician" said that the siren went bad , and took the motor starter and contacts out of the control box, and they were never seen again.

We have our suspicions , but trying to locate another set of contacts and a motor starter to conduct tests with a trusted person knowledgeable with old house sirens is difficult.
The main siren at my firehouse has been there at well over 60 years, and still works just fine. And our weather in western NY goes from -20 up to over 100, with plenty of rain and snow.
When you think about it, the only things that could go 'wrong' with an old school mechanical house siren would be the motor, electrical components, or the bearings. Does the doghouse inside the siren turn by hand? Even if it's frozen up (either by rust or cold conditions), it's a relatively easy fix. If not, then it's something electrical.
It sounds like you suspicious may well be justified!
Do you have anyone that writes grants in your department? I would think that there might be something in the 'Assistance for Firefighters' grant program. It would be well worth researching. Good luck!
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Last edited by cdknapp; 01-27-2013 at 9:36 AM.. Reason: added info
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Old 01-27-2013, 8:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdknapp View Post
The main siren at my firehouse has been there at well over 60 years, and still works just fine. And our weather in western NY goes from -20 up to over 100, with plenty of rain and snow.
When you think about it, the only things that could go 'wrong' with an old school mechanical house siren would be the motor, electrical components, or the bearings.
It sounds like you suspicious may sell be justified!
Do you have anyone that writes grants in your department? I would think that there might be something in the 'Assistance for Firefighters' grant program. It would be well worth researching. Good luck!
What really sets my alarms off is, I live directly across from the FD. The day it went bad ( I had just moved in and was not a member yet) there was some bad thunderstorms. The house siren tripped for one call , as a second call was coming in , the power had just dropped and the siren never activated. That was the last time it worked.

I am assuming by the wiring that it had a 3 phase contactor with 110v control for the coils. It has the old mechanical timers for off and on , duration and an added timer for hours of operation .

Everything is still there except the main contacts .... I guess I could ohm out the 3 phases and see if the windings have a short or an open and the rest of the contol wiring can be tested easily ...

I'd love to get this thing back up and running . I live on a hill, and when I look out my window, the siren is right at eye level and watching it sway back and forth and feeling it in your chest was pretty cool .

But the Department does not have alot of money to just toss at this antiquated system.

I will have the guy who does our grant writing look and see and I will also check with out Township Manager, who is also the Township EMA rep.
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Old 01-27-2013, 4:24 PM
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While there are from time to time some very highly competitive DHS grants for outdoor warning systems such as a siren, they are geared to weather warning and not volunteer alerting.

Assistance to Firefighters specifically states that program will not fund warning sirens.
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  #76 (permalink)  
Old 01-27-2013, 4:49 PM
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I have an email into our Municipal Manager to track down the Electrician who did the work and find out where our motor starter got to and why he took it with him .. I also have a local electrician willing to donate his time to help pull the siren motor, test it and have it rebuilt at his cost if needed.

So we have forward progress ..
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Old 02-03-2013, 5:00 PM
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Default Fire whistle

The electrician that the Township uses did indeed take the motor starter and told them the repair would cost $1700 dollars.

I had an electrician buddy take a look at it , put in a new motor starter and we are back online after two years of silence.

He donated parts and labor to the department. That's something that is hard to come by these days.


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Old 02-04-2013, 9:44 AM
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Your friend is a great guy for helping. Makes it seem like the contractor was either not interested in the job or just wanted to replace everything to bump up the materials and labor.
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Old 02-04-2013, 9:48 AM
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Default Fire whistle

I don't know who was smiling more. Us or him when we triggered it.

This guy is a great guy, I'm hoping the Township remembers this and tosses some work to him, because the fire co just found a new electrician out of it.

We offered to pay him and he refused. I told him to at least send us an invoice marked donation and we will send a letter so he can use it for tax purposes.


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Old 02-04-2013, 9:49 AM
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Default Fire whistle

As for the original electrician , we think he did the government mark up rates.


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