Siren sound will return to Seaford's city streets

By Lynn R. Parks

Seaford will once again have a fire siren. Following the recommendation of a committee formed to look at whether the siren is necessary, the members of the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department have voted to put a siren on the 120-foot radio tower next to the fire hall. "I hope that it is up by the end of the year or early in the new year," said Wayne Rigby, department president. The department is purchasing a new siren, smaller and lighter than the 30-year-old siren that was taken down in September. The old siren was removed so that the roof-mounted tower that held it could be replaced. When area residents wrote to the city asking that the siren not be replaced, the department formed the committee to look into the matter. Rigby said that the membership vote in favor of replacing the siren was "overwhelming." He said that volunteers had reported that without the siren, making their way along High Street to the fire hall was more difficult. "Without the siren, people don't understand why we are driving with our four-way flashers on," Rigby said. "In the past, they always tried to get out of the way. The siren alerts people in the neighborhood that firefighters are driving in and that the fire trucks will be responding." "It was very dangerous for everybody, when people didn't know there was an alarm," said Dick Collison, who directs traffic on High Street when the department has an emergency to respond to. "I am delighted that the siren is going back up." The Seaford Downtown Association, made up of merchants in the High Street area, sent letters to the city and to the department, asking that the siren be reinstalled as soon as possible.

Rigby said that the fire department is talking with the Newark, Del.-based company that will install the siren and with the city of Seaford on where best to place the siren on the tower. They want to place it as high on the tower as they can, to minimize the noise in the immediate area of the fire hall. Robert Kripaitis, whose Arch Street home is about 90 yards from the fire hall, wrote to Mayor Dan Short, asking that the "piercing" siren not be put back up. On Monday, he said that he felt the same way about the siren. But he was happy to learn that the fire department and the city were trying to place it so that it isn't so loud. "The fact remains that the siren was intolerably loud," he said. "I am pleased to hear that they are doing something to reduce the noise." Rigby declined to say how much the new siren cost. He did say that most of the cost is in the installation, in building supports and hiring a crane, and that getting a new siren versus using the old siren cost the department "a few thousand dollars more." The department was able to pay the cost from its reserve funds. The new siren will make the same sound that the old siren made. It meets new federal specifications that the old siren did not meet, Rigby said. As for the old siren, "I hope it can go in the fire museum," Rigby said. "But I don't know if there will be room." Already in the fire museum on High Street are several of the 10 sirens that used to be placed around town and the old bell that at one time sat in front of the station.

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