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Posted March 28, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Strasburg fire board to consider three siren options at meeting

By Joe Beck

The board of the Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department has scheduled a meeting Thursday to consider options in the ways the call siren works.

Chief Jeff Wharton said three options will be presented at the meeting. He declined to spell out their details, but said, "Each one of them costs money."

Wharton said whatever option, if any, is chosen may not necessarily change anything about the siren.

"It's a change to take care of stuff so guys here can hear the calls," he said, citing improvements to pagers, or "talking with the county about doing something with the radios" as examples of what could be done.

"All that's up for consideration," Wharton said. "There are so many different things we can do."

Wharton and other department officials met with citizens at the Town Hall a month ago to hear complaints about siren noise that critics said interrupted sleep patterns and even hobbled the ability of some businesses to attract customers.

Others among the 70 or so attendees at the meeting came to defend the siren as a symbol of small town tradition and a practical necessity for ensuring the firefighters can hear calls if their pagers aren't working.

Wharton has said the weaknesses in the county's telecommunications system keep firefighters' pagers from sounding in certain locations. He and others in the department have called for keeping the siren as an important backup alert in cases where pagers fail.

Wharton said the board may not vote on any of the options at Thursday's meeting. Actions could be postponed for further study, he said.

"We've got to have a quorum for the meeting. If we have enough members show, it's going to be discussed," Wharton said, referring to the siren.

Any recommendation for the siren that wins approval from the board will be passed on to to the Strasburg Town Council.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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