Sara Swanson

Manchester Township to reactivate fire siren

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In March, the Manchester Township Fire Department upgraded from VHF pagers to 800 MHz. This upgrade allowed all first responders in the county to communicate with each other. As the fire siren, located in the township hall was activated by the VHF signal, the change to 800 MHz ceased activating the siren and it has sat silent since then.

In June Fire Chief Bill Scully put out a call for feedback from the community, asking, “Should the fire siren remain silent or should it be reactivated?” At the September Township Board meeting Scully reported to the board the feedback received. Forty of those who contacted him were for reactivating the siren and 12 were against. The 40 who were for reactivating it tended to be Village residents who lived within earshot of the siren, but not right next to it, while the 12 opposed were residents who lived right next to the siren. Those who lived out of earshot of the siren tended not to have an opinion.

Although the siren could be reactivated for free, Scully pointed out that it would continue to run at a set time of 30 sec and run each time a call came in, even if it was a call canceling the previous call, running multiple times in a row. In acknowledgement of the residents who live near the siren who are opposed to reactivating it, Scully proposed having a control unit added into the system that would allow them to set the length of the siren and limit the siren to going off only with the first call in a series, as a middle ground between reactivating as is and leaving it silent. Scully could not get a fixed cost estimate for having the unit installed but believes it will be less than $1,000.

The Township board voted to authorize the $1,000 to have the control unit installed 6 to 1, with Supervisor DeRossett voting against it.

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