2009-09-03 / Letters to the Editor

Spare islanders the fire horn

I was having a cup of coffee with an older Jamestown resident last week when the fire horn went off. She muttered, “Ridiculous,” and went on to explain how dangerous the fire horn can be. Weeks after her triple bypass, she was walking near the fire station when the horn went off: “It nearly killed me.”

There’s a family with very young children moving in near the fire station in a few days. Sad to think of those little ones being frightened out of their sleep by the fire horn.

There is evidence the horn hurts island business. There is ample scientific evidence it is hurting islanders’ health, as well. The Washington Post tells us scientists link noise pollution to a variety of community

health problems: It interrupts sleep, interferes with children’s learning, suppresses immune systems and increases the chance of having a heart attack. That’s just regular noise pollution – they aren’t talking about a deafening, random ear attack like the fire horn.

I urge our kind firefighter friends to support the good of the community and work towards relegating the fire horn to back-up alert status. Let it be tested daily at noon, in a nod to safety and tradition. But spare the island the regular use of a damaging, laughable anachronism. As for the high cost of instituting a modern alert system, doubtless funds could be raised if the firefi ghters put their significant influence behind the effort.
Anna Macgregor

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