2009-10-08 / Letters to the Editor

Let’s work together

A few weeks back, I wrote a letter to the Press about my concerns over the fire horn. Since that time, many islanders have written responses, some pro, some con. Good, I’m glad everyone is thinking about this issue.

I want to state very clearly that my issue has to do with well-documented, legal, health and safety issues. I am not suggesting we abolish the horn, but I am saying the sheer volume can cause spontaneous deafness, anxiety, sleep disorders and cardiac issues.

Let’s work as a community to find solutions so no one has to suffer. Mr. Clarke suggested I am complaining and not volunteering, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I want to help implement new technology with the support of the town and fire station, as well as help to raise funds to put a new system in place that is safe for all our residents and visitors.

I have witnessed people getting caught in front of the station at noon, covering their ears. I have even witnessed a young person who I presume had autism drop to his knees and rock when it went off.

We are working hard to find solutions. We are researching the risks and liabilities the town is exposed to, since we know the horn blasts above the 80dB OSHA limit.

We want to work with the town, find solutions and support our volunteers at the fire station because we do sincerely appreciate all they do for us.

It upsets me when people suggest that stopping the horn would put lives in danger when fire or accidents occur. Honestly, this is preposterous and far from the truth. We would only replace the horn with a more sophisticated system, keeping the horn as a back up. With this improvement, we would have an added layer of safety through redundancy.

This is not about tradition, or a simple like or dislike of the horn. When we learned seat belts save lives, didn’t we start using them? According to deputy chief Howie Tighe, the volume of the horn can’t be adjusted. Research shows the volume is harmful to our health and safety, so doesn’t it make good sense to look for positive solutions?
Connie Slick

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