First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Morning Lineup – December 15

Saturday Morning – Let's Talk House Sirens!

Those great folks in Grant, Nebraska, are showing us one more reason why Nebraska is consistenly rated as one of the best states to live in.  You see, the house siren at the local fire station is wearing out and parts for the long-discontinued device are getting too difficult to find.  So are they following the trend of many other communities and planning on shutting the noisy critter down and replace it with personal pagers?  Noooo!  They are planning on replacing it with a new siren and, until they can purchase one, they are keeping the old one on life-support by reducing its usage.

The editor of the Grant Tribune Sentinel, Jan Rahn tells his readers:

Due to age, the siren will be blown only for fire and rescue calls and will be activated for only 90 seconds rather than three minutes as in the past. Age and difficulty in getting replacement parts has played a role in the decision to cut back in sounding the siren within city limits of Grant.

According to Grant Fire Chief Don Softley, the siren on top of the fire station at the intersection of 4th and Central is 30 years old. It has been exceptionally difficult to find repair parts for this particular obsolete model over the past 10 years, with the nearest repair facility in the state located at West Point, he said.

The siren will no longer be activated for regular ambulance emergency calls. "This action is primarily due to the age of the siren and the desire to keep it functional for as long as possible," said Softley. The fire whistle (siren) will continue to be blown for fire calls and emergency rescue calls such as car accidents. The activation of the siren will be decreased to 90 seconds rather than three minutes. The noon whistle and the 5 o’clock whistle will continue to be activated.

The yellow rotating siren on the roof is being replaced.
(Google Street View)

The town maintains the practice of utilizing the siren as a method of informing the citizens that the vfd members are about to be on the road in their cars, responding to the firehouse to continue the emergency response activities.  This alert tends to provide a more efficient path for the members.  (Chief) Softley encourages the public to be courteous to responders whose lights are flashing while on their way to the fire station and/or to the rescue scene.  The article HERE goes on to tell that the fire department has applied to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency for funding to purchase two sirens with battery-backup capability to be placed at separate locations in the town.

So let's give the folks in Grant a big Huzzah! for keeping tradition and what works alive.

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While we're on the subject of house sirens, one of our loyal readers Captain Bryan Van Fossen in Westminster, Maryland, passes along to us that there is a fan-website dedicated to the Gamewell Diaphone. 

That unique horn was developed and is primarily sold as a foghorn for ships.  Big horn… big ships.  But over the decades it has also been adapted by scores of VFD's to notify members of emergency calls and, in many instances, send coded signals that identify the box or location of the emergency.  I'll bet that most of you have heard one of these before in your travels  (if your FD has one, let us know!):


Check out the Diaphone fans WEBSITE HERE.  It is loaded with information, photos, recordings and -yes! – ringtone downloads.  It's worth a visit just to see a professional, well designed website.  Thanks for the tip, Bryan.

Now let's get our own equipment, horns and sirens checked out for today.  I need some more coffee, so I will get more brewing and then see you back in the day room.

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