DELMAR – Before long, residents will once again hear a siren when there are fire-related 911 calls in Delmar. The department’s siren will be reactivated by Friday, Dec. 15.
The Delmar Fire Department, with stations at 145 Adams Street and 803 Feura Bush Road, has been without a fire siren at either station for several years. Founded in 1911, the entirely volunteer department had for decades depended on sirens to call members to fires or other emergencies. During the 1990’s, individual pagers became standard, and cell phone alerts augmented the fire station sirens.
But without sirens, it became clear that while pagers and cell phones alert individual volunteers, they do not offer the same community awareness or safety benefits as station sirens. Both Delmar fire stations are located in residential communities with motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Truck sirens can alert motorists and pedestrians on the roadways, but fire station sirens alert their neighborhood that the station is active, trucks will be on the move and care must be taken.
Both DFD fire stations will be equipped with new sirens within the next few months. Unlike sirens of the past, these are programmable and allow the department to tailor length and frequency of the sirens. For example, the siren will only operate during the daytime hours (7am – 7pm). Each fire district in the Town of Bethlehem has a unique siren, and the Delmar siren will have its own distinctive sound. Bethlehem fire districts include Delmar, Elsmere, Slingerlands, North Bethlehem and Selkirk. All districts are volunteer and share in community mutual aid whenever necessary.
Fire sirens of today are both electronic and “old school”. The electronics allow for customization while the siren signals an emergency, and that volunteers are coming to assist their community. Roughly 93% of firefighters across New York State are volunteers. This adds up to a force of approximately 80,000 statewide, saving taxpayers an estimated $4.7 billion annually.