How to buy sirens

By Jarret Winkelman
Incident Response Technologies

When selecting sirens for your apparatus, there are a few things to consider before finalizing your selection.

How many do I need?
The "new" trend is to add more than one audible warning device to each vehicle. This serves several purposes. Multiple devices allow the crew to play different siren tones simultaneously, which may increase the public's awareness of the emergency vehicle. Multiple devices also provide redundancy in the event of mechanical failure or when debris such as mud or snow clogs a siren speaker.

What kind of tone?
What kind of tone is best for you? This is both a decision based on personal preference and research given your environment. What is best for a rural agency may not be optimal for an agency working in a downtown environment.

Whether you look at a traditional Federal type siren or a digital siren, purchasing a siren with more than one tone option is smart. Changes in tone can help alert the public to the presence of the emergency vehicle.

Prior to purchasing a siren it would be worthwhile to investigate some of the newest technologies. Some new sirens offer tones that can be both heard and felt. As such, they claim to have more penetration power into modern vehicles.

Regardless of your siren choice, remember that nothing can replace the safety benefits of a strong and effective training program for driver operators.

  • Any other suggestions? Anything we missed in the list above? Leave a comment below or e-mail with your feedback.

Jarret Winkelman is an owner and regional sales director at Incident Response Technologies, LLC. IRT provides affordable administrative, scheduling, training, and incident management solutions to public safety agencies. Mr. Winkelman currently serves as the assistant chief of a volunteer EMS agency and has diverse experience in the search and rescue, fire and EMS fields.

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