Warning Equipment with Sentimental Value

#1
This one seems like a strange thing to ask about, but what lights and/or sirens have sentimental value to you, such as reminding you of a family member, a good friend or your childhood.

As a kid, I loved the AeroDynic, but it doesn't really have a ton of sentimental or nostalgic value, per se. I still love Aeros, of course. For me, three lightbars immediately come to mind in the "sentimental value" department.

The first is the Dominion Auto crossbar. When I was a kid, the Ontario Provincial Police had these on their cruisers. I always loved them and it was one of the first lightbars that I ever got to fire up. Something about hitting the button for the roof lights was an incredible experience. The four-beam r/w beacon and the alternating reds had a great look to it along with the cheese-grater speakers.

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The second is the Smith and Wesson lightbar. This one has some real sentimental value. It was the first lightbar that I ever got to fire up. My uncle was serving with Smiths Falls Police at the time, before transferring to the OPP. He retired last January after 43 years in LE. The cruiser pictured may even have been the cruiser whose lights I fired up. Him taking me on a tour of the station is one of my best childhood memories. I remember asking an old Staff Sergeant why they don't carry side-handle batons (I thought that they were the coolest things when I was 6). The S/Sgt was a mountain of a man, gruff, but an old-school gentleman cop. You could tell that you really didn't want to tangle with him, but at the same time, he'd give you a very fair break. I asked him about the batons and he chuckled saying: "Son, we don't use those sissy things here. We use what REAL cops use." He walked over to a closet and takes out a well-worn wooden baseball bat and says with a joking laugh: "This is what the bad guys around here get smacked with. We don't need any flashy Yank batons around here!" As for the S&W lightbar, I remember it having a slow rotator speed and will NEVER forget the bored look on my older cousins' faces as red lights whirled across them.

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The last one is a crossbar that no manufacturer ever built. There was only one of it ever produced. It was the crossbar on my wagon. It went through a few versions. It consisted of some aluminum square stock with two round red reflectors on both ends, an amber cheapo plug-in rotary beacon in the middle and two toy electronic bike sirens. This was bolted to my red wagon. It was made to look like the Dominion Auto crossbar. When I got another of the same beacon, the bar was changed to look like what I can best describe as bit like a Signal Stat crossbar. Of course I had two red round reflectors bolted to the back of the wagon as rear "lighting" and a little switchbox to "control" everything. As a kid, I could do a really good impression of a wail, a yelp and an airhorn (strange, I know...). I had the best damn red wagon in the neighbourhood, especially considering the police-issue reflective tape that I got from a neighbour that was in LE. That wagon followed me around as I wore my uniform consisting of a Smiths Falls Police blue duty shirt, RCMP peaked cap from a Mountie uncle, a Sam Browne belt with a baton loop with a home-made PR-24, a handcuff holder with those toy steel handcuffs, a flashlight/flashlight holder and a police-issue holster with a toy revolver in it. Best wagon on the street, best police costume on the street :). I miss those days.


So, what lights and/or sirens are special to you? Good lord, that sounded syrupy....
 
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Doyle257

Site Regular
#2
It may be a little late in the "Legacy"(Halogen, Rotators, Strobes, etc) type bar game, but the Code 3 Excalibur.

I remember the first time I saw it, when it was brand new on the market, in a Fall 1996 Galls Catalog(may have been winter) and I knew I must have it.
A couple years back, I started building Custom Excal's, and it brings a tear to my eye every time I see one in good functioning shape

Nothing better in my opinion than a 47" Excal, red outers, white fast center, WHite intersection sweeps, Amber arrowstik, and red/white halogen flashers in the front
 

Sparky_911

Member
Gold Supporter
#3
Prior to being a deputy/detective/arson investigator, my dad was an installer for Mckeever's (now Motorola) for several years. He has always been a fan of the single bubble look on patrol cars (he was born in 1955). He has 2 FS glass tops that have the stationary bulb and 4 convex lenses that rotate around. They came from a family member (uncle or cousin) that was wayyyyy old school LE.

The apple didn't fall far from the tree...I have a Code 3 XL 5000 and 2 Code 3 model 500's that are near and dear. My father installed them on an engine of our volunteer department (Riverton, IL) that my grandfather and father were both at the time. Move forward a couple decades and I join up and get to ride the same rig in the 90's. Move forward AGAIN a few decades and that rig ends up in the building of the County Rescue Squad I am currently on. Chief says to put an LED bar up top and trash the old bar....I asked if I could have it as a wall hanger and he agrees to let me have it as long as it never ends up on a vehicle. It still has the original PAR 36 R/W/B configuration!!

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#4
I am partial to the streethawk. Its what i started with in 93 and they always were a top notch bar. Never faltered for me. I used to like hearing the motors whirl while everything else was quiet on my Caprice while on a traffic stop. The warning amount was prefect.

My other would be the Unity RV26 of course! I always admired MSP's bright flashing light. You could pic that light out of any emergency vehicle at night because of the super bright pink-ish light it emitted. You knew MSP was on a scene from a great distance away.
 

jph2

Senior Member
#6
For me, it's the TwinSonic, thanks to Emergency, and it's the first lightbar my hometown PD ran with. Then, when I became an EMT, our rigs had 12X clear Twins with red/white bulbs, so it was the first bar I ran.

Next to that, it's either a Twin or a Condor in red/red with a blue Sireno beacon on top, ala Philadelphia PD from the mid 70s when I went to school there. From Police Car Web Site:
http://www.policecarwebsite.net/yet/ppdcars/phl2016.jpg
 
OP
OP
ProPatriaNeverPassAFault
#7
I'd like to add another two: CenCom Gold and 295SDA1.

When I first started working in an ER, I was 16 and started as a Housekeeper. Pretty eye-opening stuff. These two sirens/control systems still hold a near and dear place in my heart because of what they symbolize to me. It all goes back to the first CTAS 1 case that I ever saw. CTAS is how EMS and ERs prioritize pts in Canada, with 1 being the highest (Resuscitative) and 5 being the lowest. A Level 1 is all hands on deck, with ETAs being called over the intercoms and the trauma/resus bays standing by. I've seen many since then, both in my 8 years as support staff (Housekeeper and Unit Aide) and in my current position at the city's other ER (Crisis Worker).

I was 16 when I saw my first Level One come in and it stuck with me forever and sent a firm message to me about both first responders and ER medical staff. The case came in VSA and I remember a Firefighter doing chest compressions and a Paramedic bagging. They were all bagging and doing chest compressions in rotations, so to speak. They were the type of chest compressions where you could hear the ribcage cracking. I'll never forget the look on that firefighter's face. It was one of sheer intensity; like he was personally fighting the pt's death. They all had that look on their faces when they did compressions, EMS and FD. When ER staff took over, that same intensity was there as they worked to resus the pt. Tragically, the pt. died. I'll also never forget the look on the Paramedics' and Firefighters' faces either. It was one of them having seen death many, many times, but that it never gets any easier to witness. I remember the EMS and FD Supervisors there, older gentlemen that had seen this countless times, get the same look, albeit for a split second. They said to the Paramedics and Firefighters: "Boys, you fought as hard as you could." It was that word: fought. It then clicked about first responders and ER medical staff: they're a team fighting to save lives. They don't look Death in the face, they try and kick his bony ass.

In those days, EMS and PD used CenCom Gold, at least PD did. FD used a combination of systems, IIRC, including Gold on some of their vehicles. PD used the Mechanical Wail when responding Priority 0/Code 4 and the Mechanical Manual Stop as well. Thinking about it now, EMS may have used the 295SDA1 and might still, as they've used dual-tone sirens for ages now. They use(d) dual Simulated Mechanicals, often in combination with yelp and Piercer a lot or dual standard wails.

To this day, I still choke up whenever I hear a dual-tone Whelen, especially when it's running the Simulated Mechanical and another tone. Part of it is that there's another human being that's ill or injured in the back of that rig but the bigger part of it is that it's a reminder that there's a team of professionals fighting tooth and nail to save that person's life.
 

jph2

Senior Member
#8
...
My other would be the Unity RV26 of course! I always admired MSP's bright flashing light. You could pic that light out of any emergency vehicle at night because of the super bright pink-ish light it emitted. You knew MSP was on a scene from a great distance away.
My bad; I have to add another as well, echoing what unityrv26 said about Michigan State Police and their UV26 Spitfires. You knew it was MSP, no matter what else was going on, and you could see the light before you could even see the scene. I miss those lights. That Whelen blinky thing in the Unity housing? meh!
 
#9
First light I owned was one of the Five-Oh rotator dashlights. Given to me by a neighbor who had retired from the fire service, long before I was actually authorized to have any warning lights.


Other than that, I just always had a fondness for Whelen Edge. I was convinced that someday I would be some sort of big important fire chief or something and have a full-sized edge on a suburban.
 
OP
OP
ProPatriaNeverPassAFault
#10
My bad; I have to add another as well, echoing what unityrv26 said about Michigan State Police and their UV26 Spitfires. You knew it was MSP, no matter what else was going on, and you could see the light before you could even see the scene. I miss those lights. That Whelen blinky thing in the Unity housing? meh!
Always loved MSP's Unity rotary beacons. I'd have to say that they have some sentimental value as well, just from many memories of crossing through Detroit from Windsor. They were always so unforgettable to see. Simple, yet effective and very elegant, for lack of a better word. We'd be crossing from/to Windsor after going somewhere in the Metro Detroit area, be it a mall, a friend's place in Troy or to the Gibraltar Gun and Knife Show later on. MSP cars always caught your attention. To me, the Unity RV26 is one of the three perfect beacons. Perfect rotation speed, brightness, shape, everything. The others would be the Signal Stat 374 and the Dominion Auto beacon that the OPP and Toronto Metro used (model number eludes me).

As for the MSP Unity RV26, I absolutely loved them as a kid and the distinctness of that beacon has always stuck with me. MSP did things right when it came to markings and lighting, IMHO.
 

Greg Scott

Registered Member
#12
Of all the light bars and sirens I have two that have the most sentimental value to me. The first is a Federal Jetstream lightbar that was on my 1994 Chevy Caprice. I loved it because prior to that we ran really worn out Whelen 80's and my assigned car got a new Jetstream and was the only one with the center oscillator. Later in 1999, we had a domestic where the man was armed with a shotgun and he shot at my squad peppering the light bar and windshield as I was exiting the car door. In one of the pics you can see the small pock marks as the pellets hit.

My second favorite light is a 3 bulb beacon along with the Fyr Fyter speaker that was on my dads first engine out when he started on the fire dept in 1965. It was a 1962 FWD engine that went out of service in 2000. I kicked my self for not buying it for 750.00 but I had no place to store it. I had lost track of it when it was sold but just found it in December parked in an old farm left to rot. I called the owner who is in his late 80's and asked him about it. I asked him where the beacon and speaker went and he said that when he bought it he removed them and stored them, which is why for being 56 years they are in excellent shape unlike the rest of the truck. The old gentleman was glad the light and speaker were going to a good home.
 

Attachments

#13
Reviving this older post cuz I actually found commonalities with the above posts that I didn't know I had. Well done, PPNPAF.

So like many of us here, I was born into "the life." Both parents were on the rescue squad in town, with my father also serving on the fire department for over 45 years until his death.

Growing up, I spent many days in & around the rescue squad, always drawn to the flashing lights. The squad ran 2 red & white Braun "Slope-Side" Type III ambo's & a light duty rescue. I can remember being drawn to the big "Lego block lights" on the roof of the ambulances. In my later years, and thru my learning here, come to find out that they were red/red TwinSonic 12's. So an all red TwinSonic 12 is first on my list, and is on my 'mandaory purchase' list. (Side note: when I finally was old enough to join the RS in high school, they had the 2nd gen of the squad's Braun 'Slope-Sides' which are still in service today, for some ungodly reason. Instead of replacing a 1996 & 2000, the just added 3 more ambulances. Logic? Anyway, while I didn't get my TwinSonics, I was able to run with Whelen AdvantEdge freestanding bars, 4 red rotator & 2 red flash & 2 white flash. Those gave way to r/w/b Vector bars :confused:, and eventual full led conversion where it now sits today with a r/w/b Freedom. But the TwinSonic will hold a place in my heart, as that was my first favorite. Along with the Braun-standard Code 3 sirens.) Pic attached of my old squad ambo, still in service today, with previously mentioned Vector.
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Next up is a version of the FS Vector that was custom to my mom's police department. Red rotator at the 1, 4, & 7, blue rotator at the 3 & 5. Amber flasher to the rear at 2 & 6, front facing amber flasher at the 2, TD at the 6, and obv clear alleys (or is it allies?) Add in the 8 head amber TA in the back, 2 blue par 36 halogen flashers on the back deck, traffic backer, red FS 400-sized halogen flashers behind the grille, & HLF. Made a very simple & put together package, in my eyes. All wiring run into an SW300 married up with a PA300. Hardly a proprietary lightbar by any means, but one I'd never seen before & never seen since. It wasn't a mindblowing or revolutionary setup, nor is it vintage by any means. But to me, it was the best setup they ever had, including today. From as early as I can remember, they had all red Aerodynic's, which gave way to red Vectors who got a blue make over. Then came r/b/r Vista all-lights with a few r/b Patriots thrown in the mix as a trial. They switched to a black & white livery in the late 2000's & started with the generic r/b Liberty, which led into r/b Liberty II's of today. But man, if that r/b Vector doesn't still place at the top of the list. Pics are of the Chief's old expedition, after it was lettered & placed into the motorpool. Couldn't find a pic of a CV or Caprice without searching too far.
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I'm sure I have a few others that I can't think of, but this has gone on too long. :)
 

Impala9C1

Registered Member
#14
When I was a VFF, I always liked the Jetsonic. It had a rotators on each side with flashers in the middle. I may have paid more in shipping then the bar cost. I just think it looks sleek. It was accurate for the 93 Caprice I had at the time. Still got it.
 
#15
Let's see..started as a vollie in 1968. Had an old Fireball to start, then a Flashball, then a Whelen Rot abeam Corporal. Hired by Philly Fire, and it was old Buckeye Rotorays, turning S-L-O-W-L-Y. Much more impact than the high speed spinners of today. Federal Model 76, 77, 78 sirens with various lights, always liked the dual tone.
Hired on the cops, best lightbar was the Whelen Edge with halogen flashers in middle and strobes on the ends. Can be seen for MILES!!

Interesting note: my old agency still uses Southern VP blue throw lights, only light in the detective cars, a fact that kept getting me in trouble since I kept using strobes and then LED dash lights. No sirens mind you.
 

NPS Ranger

Veteran Member
#16
Brings back memories... Started late 60's with North American TR-1 from J C Whitney (still made, but ya can't buy them there), then a 121 Vitalite, then an FB2 with the tri-flash, then a succession of full size beacons or minibars, then back to a single LED Talon in my old age.
 

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