Let’s work together to find an answer for siren

The officers and members of the Allentown First Aid Squad want the public to know how important we believe the use of an emergency alerting siren is. Our radio pagers are a very effective first line of communication to alert our members of an emergency.

Pagers are not foolproof. Batteries go dead; we don’t carry our pagers in the swimming pool or the shower. The pager can’t be heard when you use a lawn mower. Dispatchers do make mistakes.

What happens if during one of these times, your mother has a heart attack or your child chokes or has an asthma attack?

What if your house catches fire or you are involved in a serious car accident? You depend on us and expect we will be there in your time of need.

We depend on the siren as a back-up to ensure we hear your call for help. At the same time, we understand and agree something has to be done about the current siren.

Late last year, in meetings with representatives of the Allentown Borough Council, Upper Freehold Township, Hope Fire Company and Allentown First Aid Squad, various options were considered. Purchasing a new siren with a lower decibel rating and/or finding a new location for the siren were discussed.

Allentown Mayor Stuart Fierstein agreed to investigate these options. The mayor further agreed to continue use of the current siren until a suitable alternative could be found.

To date, nothing has been done except to terminate the use of the siren. This is why we decided to go public with the issue by attending a Borough Council meeting.

Five people representing the first aid squad and fire department, with a combined total of more than 125 years of service to the community, spoke on the subject. We were totally ignored.

The mayor offered no comment or explanation as to why alternatives were not explored; in fact, he wouldn’t even look at us when we spoke.

We deserve better treatment and respect from our elected officials. We took our time to get this information on the record because we take seriously our duty to protect the lives and property of the community we serve.

An emergency siren has served this community for more than 50 years. We know the use of the siren increases the number of members responding to emergencies.

Over 90 percent of the area first aid squads and fire departments surveyed still rely on sirens to alert volunteers. The current siren needs to be replaced or relocated. We are asking the residents to help make this happen.

As it stands now the mayor is ready to "throw the baby out with the bath water." Please join us in our efforts to get our elected officials to find a solution that addresses both public safety and "nuisance" issues. Your life may depend on it.

Abigail R. Smith

President

Ruth Bertagni

Captain

Allentown First Aid Squad

Allentown