I can attest to the need for a fire siren. Strasburg sits in a hole. East: Three Top Mountain (Signal Knob); West: North Mountain; North: Hupps Hill; South: Fishers Hill. The mountains block radio signals in different spots in town. We dispatched/monitored police, fire, rescue, public works and CB frequencies. All experienced dead spots. Cell phones also experience "no bars." Text messages in Strasburg can take 30 minutes to receive!
We dispatched inside the fire station. When the siren was going off, we communicated on radios with our units and still handled phone calls. Don't tell me you can't hear on the phone or talk with customers.
The first five minutes of any fire are critical and the three-stage alert aids faster response. Tones, siren, dispatch - alerts to a call, type and location. The siren allows drivers to be alert that volunteers are heading to the station and that fire/rescue units will be responding from King, Holliday or Washington Streets.
If you have a fire, or are involved in a wreck, that siren tells you help is on the way. More than one person has told me that siren was the best sound they ever heard!
We've experienced horrific fires that could have taken down entire blocks if not for the extraordinary efforts of our firefighters. They are exceptional, caring people who give up large parts of their lives in training and time away from family; time refilling the tanker with water; time checking each unit; time filling gas tanks; time stretching, drying and stowing hoses on trucks so every unit is ready for the next call. Then personal gear gets checked, cleaned and stowed.
Every person in this town should get down on their knees every day and Thank God we have volunteers willing to risk their lives in all kinds of weather, anytime of the day and night!
Ginny Hamrick, Strasburg
Former Strasburg dispatcher