Absolutely Necessary

Aug 29, 2018

To the Editor:

I was appalled at yet another letter to the editor from Mr. Orleans regarding the emergency services on LBI (“Unwelcome Alarm,” 8/22). He has been complaining for years about the sounding of the fire sirens but yet, Bill, you keep on coming back to the Island. I guess they can’t bother you too much.

In a letter in 2015 you cried about the same issue. Are you truly that self-centered and elitist that you can’t adapt for people in an emergency situation?

My husband and I are homeowners on LBI and feel the opposite – the sirens are absolutely necessary. We must respect the first responders, who obviously feel the siren is a valuable tool that alerts the volunteers of an emergency, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Emergency situations occur at all hours.

I am sorry if middle-of-the-night alerts disrupt your sleep for the one- or two-minute sounding of the sirens. Think about the people suffering from whatever the emergency may be. How does their situation compare to your merely being awakened? We feel the fire department should have every tool available to keep our community safe.

What qualifications does Mr. Orleans have, or what training has he received, in determining proper alert procedures? It is my guess that Mr. Orleans is out of touch and does not understand the emergency services in our community, how and why they are dispatched, and what works best when alerting emergency responders.

The emergency alert sirens in the Beach Haven community, and nearly every community in the country that has a volunteer fire department, serve a very valuable service. They alert firefighters to a need for their emergency response. It is true that many of the volunteers have pagers. But how many times have you misplaced your cell phone, or the battery has gone dead – the same happens to firefighters and their pagers. If firefighters unintentionally leave their pagers in their vehicles or next to the couch when they go to bed, or it is in a charging station in another part of the house, they would not hear the pager. However, they would be alerted by the siren.

In addition, should you ever experience the horror of discovering a fire in your home, business or school, there is great comfort from hearing the fire siren, reassuring you that help is on the way. If, God forbid, my house should ever catch fire, I want every brave Beach Haven firefighter available to know that they are needed, and I don’t care if they blow sirens, sound pagers, or stand on a rooftop banging metal pots. I want them on the scene, putting out the fire.

If Mr. Orleans is inconvenienced by the sound of the siren, that’s just too bad. And to indicate that an occasional sounding of a siren after 11 p.m. is driving away his fellow tourists is just ludicrous. Everyone should take great comfort knowing our trained firefighters are on the job – and feel safe when visiting our wonderful community.

Beach Haven and all LBI communities are blessed with a dedicated, trained and giving group of men and women, who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and all holidays. These unselfish volunteers hear the sirens for fire calls, industrial and residential rescues, traffic accidents with entrapment or leaks from the gas tank, searches for lost children or senior citizens, floods, building collapses, severe storm damage, water rescues, boating accidents, and a host of other emergencies. Let’s support our volunteers and not inhibit them from doing their jobs.

Nancy Aronson

Haven Beach

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