Resident: Fire Siren Almost Knocked Me Down

Susan Heuberger says "Frankenstein like bell" is a hazard to human health.


A Middlefield resident says she was nearly knocked off her feet by a siren used by the town's fire department to alert volunteers of an emergency.

Susan Heuberger, whose home at 118 Way Road is nearby to one of the town's three fire sirens, asked that the town stop using the new sirens which were to replace older sirens.

"I was outside and the firen siren went off and it almost knocked me down, it took away my breath, gave me a chest pain," said Heuberger, who compared the siren to "a Frankestein like bell."

"The level of the decibles is quite high and looking into the internet, high vibrational decibles can be harmful to human health. I've got 20 people on my street ready to sign a petition against this."

Heuberger raised the issue during Tuesday night's Board of Selectman meeting, adding that she'd tried to contact Middlefield Fire Chief Pete Tyc to discuss the issue but could not reach him.

First Selectman Jon Brayshaw agreed the siren on Way Road produced "the strangest sound I've ever heard."

"I don't like them any more than you do," he said.

Heuberger was also upset because she claimed the town's two other sirens — located near the Rockfall Garage and at the firehouse — are not working. "If these sirens are necessary than it's necessary to get the other two repaired," she said.

Brayshaw said he was told all three emergency sirens were working, a claim that Heuberger disputed.

"I was told by the emergency manager today that the two are not working. I was told that the only reason that the one that goes off at six o'clock at night is to let people know that it's six o'clock. We don't need that in this day in age," Heuberger said.

Fire officials have said the sirens are used as a mandatory secondary means of alerting firefighters to an emergency in town. Brayshaw said the sirens are scheduled to go off at 6 p.m. as a daily test of the system.

Brayshaw agreed to set up a meeting between Heuberger and Tyc so they could discuss the issue.

Police Cruiser Not Marked

At the meeting, resident Marianne Corona said the town's newest police cruiser still had not been marked  to do so.

"It's gonna be done," Brayshaw said.

"How long does it take to get it done?" Corona asked.

Brayshaw said he was informed last week by Resident Trooper Eric Kelly that the decals were coming.

Jimbo March 22, 2012 at 02:50 PM
As far as the other 2 horns not working the one next to the fire house is. I was at the Community Center last night when a fire call came in shortly after 8pm and that horn was definitely working.
Laura Williams March 22, 2012 at 05:19 PM
There is not any reason to be hateful towards Sue Heuberger when the bell is very loud and disruptive, and the daily test can be done silently.
Just my opinion March 22, 2012 at 08:28 PM
O.k. a daily test done silently. what would have happened if these sirens were not in place during the October storm when not only land line were not use able many cell phones and radio towers were down. Fire fighters got notified there was something to respond to by one means only the siren. I want to know if it is your house burning or a loved one in need of emergency care would it bother you that the siren went off to notify the fire fighters to go to the fire house to staff the trucks and respond. I can answer with a great big no it wouldn't bother you.
Just my opinion March 22, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Now let's look at this another way we can go to a paid fire department where we no longer need sirens and we could definitely promise one big thing and that would be budget increases. Tax increase and people getting paid to do when we have many qualified volunteers stepping up to do it. When growing up I lived exactly in the middle on Main Street from The Cherry Hill Rd. siren and the one on top of the fire house my parents taught me what it was for and to respect and that those who volunteered to help. My children and grandchild have been taught the same so maybe Mrs. H. needs to have it explained and then she won't be so afraid of the siren. I remember being happy that I heard it because I knew someone was getting help by a neighbor who cares enough to give their time. Also I was at the base of Cherry Hill last night when the siren went off. So maybe it just happens to be where you are if you realize it is working or not. How would I know if I live on Way Rd. if the siren at Cherry Hill is working? Give it a break and let the sirens be used to help fire fighter do what they do best help others.
Grateful March 22, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I think people need to find other things to complain about that are worth while. I live by the siren in Rockfall & it is no bother (It has never stopped working so Sue get your facts straight). I am grateful for my VOLUNTEER firefighters so if me hearing a sound once a day helps them protect and save lives so be it. IT IS WHAT IT IS. So sad that in this town we have people who crab about everything:( .
Jon March 23, 2012 at 01:26 AM
The sirens are disruptive and sound like a tornado warning every time they go off. It's 2012 which means there are plenty of more direct ways that don't sound like a non-specific chaotic town-wide alarm warning us all to duck-and-cover. These disturb the whole town, wake people at all hours of the night and are simply an unnecessary nuisance. I would suggest using them as a backup system for alerting the emergency responders when other more effective means of communications are down. Plenty of other towns get along with less disruptive systems and we got along without them up until last fall.
Just my opinion March 23, 2012 at 01:49 AM
How would you know if the first way of notifying a firefighter of an emergency didn't work after how many minutes should they then activate the siren. Go back just to October of this year when the siren was the only way to alert firefighters. Do you realize that if a person is in cardiac arrest every second that can be gained counts. If a child falls and is unconscious time is of the essence, if a house is on fire seconds make the difference from a save to a total loss. In a town that has at most 365 calls a year is it really that terrible to deal with. The towns that do not use sirens are paid departments why not look into making the department payed and see who will complain. If the siren blows and it helps save just 1 life it is well worth the inconvenience. I know people with little children and babies in town who sleep right through the siren. Sad part is in 2012 we have volunteers who are woke up all hours of the night and you don't see them complaining. Stop complaining and learn that when the siren sounds someone is getting the help they need why not thank one of the volunteers and respect what they use to learn you are in need of help. The sirens have been part of this town for over 50 years. Yes they have been modernized and yes it is loud but noone who really understands what they are used for should have any problem dealing with less than a minute of noise.
Just my opinion March 23, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I wish my property was where there was a siren needed as I would volunteer to let them place it in my yard. I live less than a mile from Mrs.H's house and yes I hear the siren and each time say a quick little prayer that the person in need of help is o.k., and that our firefighter are safe. I say leave the siren alone.
Grateful March 23, 2012 at 02:50 AM
You said it so right just my own opinion. I think the complainers are people that just find things to complain. I honest feel bad for them. They are the nuisance in this town not the sirens. Maybe we should keep the sirens and they should move to a town with paid firefighter.
Brigid March 28, 2012 at 05:46 PM
At the meeting, Mr. Brayshaw stated that he was told by the fire chief that the sirens had been repaired, so it logically would follow that they must have been out of service at some point. And Grateful, I think people should not try to tell other people what to worry about.
Just my opinion March 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Trish if I remember right years ago you lived right near Lyman gun sight where the other siren was located it used to go off at noon and 6 and I don't ever remember you complaining. I think this is more about not in my back yard than the siren itself. I would offer my house if it were in the proper location for the siren but it isn't because I live in the Lake Beseck area.


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