For those who live in Rotterdam, you most likely have heard our siren going off and wondered why it was going off. Some may find it annoying, but its purpose is a lot more important than you think.
Our siren is a piece of history. It is a Sterling Y-10 with 8/16 ports. It was presumably installed in 1951 when the fire station was first built. Back then, the siren was the most vital way to inform volunteers of an emergency.
Today, volunteers are thankful that technology has made it easier to be notified during an emergency. But, the siren still plays an important role in notifying volunteers. The purpose of the siren is still to alert the citizens and volunteers of an emergency. While we rely on other forms of communication such as pagers and cell phones, they have their short comings. Batteries die, pagers and cell phones are not always on the person, text messaging and smart phone apps like I Am Responding are sometimes delayed, with some calls not coming through at all. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that there are at least 2 reliable means to alert firefighters. The siren gets the firefighters attention at any time.
It says to everyone, somebody needs help. When people in town hear the siren, it tells them there’s an emergency going on somewhere and it helps with traffic. It warns citizens to be alert for volunteers responding to the firehouse and to watch out for fire trucks responding to an incident. When it’s your time of emergency, the siren reassures you that help is on the way.
Our siren sounds everday at 4:30pm, and anytime there is an emergency. The 4:30 alarm is just a test, and the siren will sound once. In an actual emergency, the siren will sound 6 times. This lasts for about one minute.
Never heard our siren? Check out this video to hear what it sounds like in an actual emergency!
If you see a vehicle with a flashing blue light, it's a firefighter! That is a clear sign that there is an emergency. It could be a firefighter who is responding to the fire house, so that he or she can gear up and get on the fire truck. It could also be a fire policeman, who responds to the scene of an emergency and helps direct traffic and performs various other tasks.
So to the important question, what should I do?
By law, you do not have to pull over for a vehicle that has a blue light. That being said, volunteers greatly appreciate it when you do. It allows us to get to the scene that much quicker in the event of an emergency.
Let it be known, volunteers with blue lights are not allowed to run red lights and stop signs, and or exceed the posted speed limit. It is merely a courtesy light to alert drivers around that there is an emergency. As stated before, it is greatly appreciated if you do pull over.
However, if you see any emergency vehicle that has flashing emergency lights on the side of the road, according to the Move Over Law, you are required to slow down, and move over. For more information about the Move Over Law, click HERE