The Media Borough Fire Siren: A Vital Call for First Responders

Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fires do not discriminate – all ages are at risk in a blaze, making it important for every member of the community to take some time each October during Fire Prevention Week to ensure they understand how to stay safe in a fire. This month, in preparation for Fire Prevention Week, Media Borough would like to recognize the importance of our fire alarm system.

Previously, the fire department used a mechanical fire alarm system that was attached to several telephone poles. In 2000, the system was modified and upgraded so that the sound is distributed more horizontally. The Media Borough fire alarm alerts residents and emergency volunteers alike during an emergency incident. The alarm operates during the day and very rarely between 10PM to 6AM usually for a working fire that the fired department is trying to summon additional members for. (Some members do not have their phones in the bedroom when they go to sleep at night. This decreases the number of members that hear the call and respond). The siren’s duration is less than 30 seconds. 

The new electronic alarm has voice capability, allowing it to deliver voice messages such as “tornado warning”.  Jim Jeffery, former Media Borough Fire Chief and now Code Enforcement Director, hopes that this voice capability will be useful in the future for warning about certain weather emergencies, such as the recent straight-line winds that blew through the borough a few weeks ago… 

There are several reasons the borough uses this fire alarm system. First, in emergency situations, electronic methods like phone and text alerting are not 100% consistent. When phone lines become overwhelmed, the siren is left to directly alert citizens in a timely and efficient manner. With a significant weather event, for example, the 911 system can get so deluged that digital messages don’t always send – but the siren will still blow.

Media Borough Fire Department volunteers are usually alerted of emergencies on their pagers. However, there are several instances where a volunteer’s pager might not be on their person, and they may not hear it. This is another instance where the siren comes in handy, as hearing the alarm will alert volunteers of an emergency and to check their pager. 

The next time you hear the Media Fire Company siren, remember that our borough fire company first responders are on their way to help wherever needed. Whether it’s a fire, accident, weather event, or other emergency situation, our first responders are answering the call. We thank all of our emergency responders for keeping our borough residents safe and responding to the call of the siren.