NYC Siren Law Proposal

NPS Ranger

Veteran Member
Politicians always know best when it comes to vehicles, consider 5 MPH bumpers and automatic seatbelts. And gasohol.
 

coop359

Member
Some states would not accept hi-low as a siren tone. Some say it needs to wail or yelp. I like the hi-low air horns like LACOFD used on medic squads. How about those and hi-low siren tones. Grover Air horns always get motorist attention.
 

Skulldigger

Site Guru
New York deserves everything they voted for. But, sirens have been considered an annoyance ever since they were invented. When Sireno first came out with them in 1907, they advertised them as "Horns" and "musical" and a "A New Charm" to motoring, where regular horns were "harsh, nerve-racking, ear splitting" and startling. By 1910 some cities were banning them as use for horns on vehicles because they were annoying and the sound traveled so far. They tested one on Goat Island as a fog warning siren and caused a panic and everyone protested it. I assume the sirens running through the buildings of New York, especially the Q's are annoying to some and likely the cause of the uproar. The busier the responses are through the city the more and more you hear sirens. The Hi-Lo will be just as annoying when you hear it every few minutes as well, then what wil they do?
 

classifieds869294

Established Member
While I love collecting electronic sirens, especially NYC-centric ones, as a resident I have been enjoying the influx of hi-lo siren from the Mount Sinai ambulances.

It is way more chill than the insanely loud PA4000 (with rumbler sometimes) that FDNY EMS runs, and of course the classic smartsiren + rumbler that the NYPD frequently wakes me up with. The funny part is the NYPD spec smartsiren has always had hi-lo, they just don’t use it much.

All in all less noise would be nice, but I wouldn’t want response times to suffer. It’s also a bit like throwing a chair off the titanic in my loud ass neighborhood...
 
I've used a Hi Lo in NYC and can confirm. Nobody Moves! Also I wonder how this is going to work considering REMSCO (NYC EMS regulatory agency) is going to require rumblers on ambulances in the near future.
 

tsquale

Site Minion
Platinum Supporter
Guess they should switch to hi lo Martin horns then just to stick it to the man!
 

JazzDad

Just Another Faceless Member
Silver Supporter
Do away with sirens altogether. Just use missiles to clear the traffic. (This would help with the burgeoning population, too.)
 

nluszcz

Member
High-low is banned in my FD due to the limited frequencies of sound. Since there are only two frequencies used, if you can't hear one or both of them, you are SOL. Wail, yelp, etc go through a range and are more able to be heard by people with limited hearing/insulation/whatever may block a range of frequencies.
 

Wailer

Veteran Member
It's the high frequency sounds that are annoying and can also cause hearing loss. I like to watch fire engine videos on YouTube, and I hear a lot of siren operators abusing the hell out of the mechanical Federal Q by running it at top speed and making it squeal like a trumpet in a jazz band. To my ears, the Q siren sounds best at lower speeds - that classic 'AWWWWWWW' sound that is reminiscent of antique fire engines. Also, electronic sirens with low-pitched wail and yelp tones (which are no longer made) are easier on the ears.
 

nluszcz

Member
Again, its the change in frequency which is noticeable. A Q at full steam just hanging there is far less effective than if they lay off it and let it wind down. Same with air horns. Holding on the horn is less effective than blowing shorter blasts. High frequencies travel further, but the lower ones penetrate better.
 

tsquale

Site Minion
Platinum Supporter
High-low is banned in my FD due to the limited frequencies of sound. Since there are only two frequencies used, if you can't hear one or both of them, you are SOL.
That is ridiculous logic. I don't think the Europeans would continue to use it 50+years if it didn't work. They are far more advanced in vehicle safety than the US. The chances that someone wouldn't hear the tone is so minuscule that it is a moot point. If a person is deaf they aren't going to hear your siren at all which is why it should be coupled with visible warning devices and good driving practices...

:rantoff:
 

EMT-BLS

Member
No one siren tone works in NYC. You need every tone on a Smart Controller, plus maybe a second siren, and that's not counting the Rumbler with the timer ripped out. The issue isn't noise...the issue is non-responsive motorists.
 

EMT-BLS

Member
I think it's the other way around. Low-pitched sounds travel further and high-pitched sounds cut through better.
I'm fairly certain it's the other way around. Rumblers, the ultimate low frequecy, have a very short effective range, whereas you can hear Wail for miles.
 

Phillyrube

Senior Member
That is ridiculous logic. I don't think the Europeans would continue to use it 50+years if it didn't work. They are far more advanced in vehicle safety than the US. The chances that someone wouldn't hear the tone is so minuscule that it is a moot point. If a person is deaf they aren't going to hear your siren at all which is why it should be coupled with visible warning devices and good driving practices...

:rantoff:
I heard lots of wail and yelp in Rome 2 years ago, plus air horn hi lo.
 

CHIEFOPS

Senior Member
In my 25+ years of emergency vehicle operation in NYC I found the Hi-Lo was only effective for slow, long responses

But it should be noted the NYPD's first electronic siren only had Hi-Lo and Yelp with Hi-Lo as the primary tone
 

Wailer

Veteran Member
But it should be noted the NYPD's first electronic siren only had Hi-Lo and Yelp with Hi-Lo as the primary tone
The Signal Stat "Stat VI" siren. It is a low-pitched electronic siren. The yelp tone sounds the same as the early Smith & Wesson Magnum electronic sirens.
 
Philly for many years had great luck with the original ge powercall until the early 90s when the street hawk and vector lightbars started coming with new cars. The pa 300 siren started showing up in greater numbers not sure what model they are using now but wail and yelp are primary tones for pd. Fd mixes in a eq2b in most cases
 
I live in Delaware county right outside the city a bunch of our volunteer fire depts still use the powercall which imo is the best people mover out there.
 

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