Q & A about the fire siren 2.13

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

You’re enjoying a chance to sleep in on a weekend morning, but there it goes, pulling you out of slumber.

You’re walking downtown when the blast begins and the volume is almost painful.

It’s Morenci’s fire siren, and many people wonder why it even blows these days since fire department members all carry pagers.

There are two reasons the siren continues to sound, said Morenci’s fire chief Chad Schisler.

It’s true that pagers alert firefighters, but it’s also true that pagers don’t always operate as they should.

“We continue to use the siren as a backup to our pager system,” Schisler said. “The paging system is continuing to be improved through the funds that all telephone users pay on their monthly phone bills.”

When the siren is activated at the dispatch system in Adrian, a tone also triggers the pagers.

Schisler said there are no plans to discontinue use of the siren. Even if the paging system were to become more dependable, the siren serves in another way that he finds valuable.

“The other advantage is that it makes citizens aware that we are responding to an emergency and they start looking for emergency vehicles going to and from the station.”

All right, so the siren is going to stay, but does it have to be so loud?

Schisler said before the existing siren was purchased, there was a discussion about buying two sirens—one for each end of town. Because that would have doubled the price, the decision was made to go with a single siren that can be heard at the edges of the community.

Schisler said where he lives on the west side of town, it’s not loud at all and a lower volume could easily be missed.

So if the volume is going to stay loud, couldn’t it at least blow for a shorter duration? This would minimize the disruption to people in downtown businesses making telephone calls and it would shorten the blow to pedestrians.

One 360° rotation takes one minute, Schisler said, so the cycle is set on two minutes for two rotations. Sometimes it’s cut short if a firefighter is at the station and turns it off early.

OK, so if it’s going to blow loud and it’s going to blow long, couldn’t it at least be used only for the fire department?

We no longer have volunteer rescue squad members rushing to the fire hall, so a warning to look for vehicles isn’t needed. Besides, there’s often quite a delay between the siren and the appearance of the ambulance, so it doesn’t really serve as a warning to look out for the ambulance. It’s equipped with lights and a siren anyway.

It’s not that simple, Schisler said. The fire department and the ambulance service both use the same paging system, so it’s not a matter of using it for one but not the other.

The ambulance service could use its own radio channel, but once again it’s going to cost a lot more money.

Due to his work schedule, Schisler sleeps during the day and he, too, would be pleased not to be awakened for rescue calls. A large majority of Morenci’s sirens are for the ambulance.

All right, you win—or, perhaps, the ambulance wins, but one more question. What about those occasional night time sirens? That’s not supposed to happen except for the severe weather siren blast.

“The fire siren is operational from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., approximately,” Schisler said. “The unit is on a timer and through power interruptions the timer will occasionally be off until the technician re-programs the unit.”

Any other questions?

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017