Firefighters sue siren maker after suffering from hearing loss
The firefighters said in their lawsuit that Federal Signal Corp. should have warned them of the hazards of long-term exposure to the high-intensity sirens
By Jane Musgrave
The Palm Beach Post
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Nearly two dozen Palm Beach County firefighters are suing a publicly-traded company claiming sirens it produces for emergency vehicles robbed them of their hearing.
In the lawsuit filed this week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, current and former firefighters for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and the West Palm Beach and Boca Raton fire departments say Federal Signal Corp. should have warned them of the hazards of long-term exposure to the high-intensity sirens. They are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
“Federal Signal provided no warnings or inadequate warnings to consumers and end users … about the dangerous propensities of the noise emitted by the sirens,” Pennsylvania attorney Carmen DeGisi wrote in the lawsuit. “Repeated exposure over a period of time to the noise … (has) caused permanent, irreversible hearing loss to the plaintiffs.”
Chicago attorney David Duffy, who represents the diverse Illinois-based company, said it has been hit with similar lawsuits from firefighters elsewhere in the country.
“Federal Signal has strong defenses to these cases and has prevailed in a string of jury trials,” he said in a statement. “Federal Signal is committed to defending its quality siren products and will litigate these cases as necessary.”
It has defeated firefighters’ claims of hearing loss in jury trials in Philadelphia and Cook County, Illinois, according to company news releases.
In April, it recovered $128,000 in legal costs after a law firm dropped its suit on behalf of Washington, D.C. firefighters. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the law firm failed to properly investigate the hearing loss claims before filing the suit, Federal Signal said.
“Sirens,” Duffy said, “are vital public safety products and save lives.”
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