Pa. firefighters lose siren hearing loss lawsuit

The court decided that the firefighters, who claimed a fire truck siren damaged their hearing, could not prove that another brand would have been safer

By FireRescue1 Staff

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A group of firefighters who claim a fire truck siren permanently damaged their hearing lost a lawsuit against the company who designed it.

The Penn Record reported that a case against Federal Signal Corporation, brought forward by firefighters Ronald M. Dunlap, Dino Abbot, Keith Bradley, Brian Cavanaugh, Glenn Gasiorowski, Roger Maher and Carl Roell, was dismissed because the judges decided the firefighters could not prove that another fire truck siren design would have caused less damage to their hearing.

“The underlying complaint of the plaintiff firefighters is that the Q-siren is unreasonably dangerous and defective and negligently designed because it emits omnidirectional, high-decibel sound that, over time, causes permanent hearing loss to firefighters occupying the fire truck,” Superior Court Judge Mary Jane Bowes said.

Bowes added that the firefighters “offered the expert testimony of Christopher J. Struck, an acoustics expert, to the effect that a shroud … could be applied to the Q-siren to divert the noise to the front of the vehicle while still meeting industry standards for warning sirens. Instead of emitting sound in all directions, the shroud would funnel the noise in a cone-shaped direction in front of the fire truck, thereby reducing the noise level in the cab of that vehicle.”

Federal Signal responded and claimed that the firefighters did not offer evidence that the alternative design was safe for everyone involved because the attached shroud would pose a risk to pedestrians and other drivers on the road.

The judges said the alternative siren design brought forward by the firefighters was not sufficient, and that an expert opinion was needed about whether or not it was safe for the public.

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