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Sirens are Unethical
Posted: 15 March 2011 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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George - 15 March 2011 10:29 AM

Stormy Fairweather,

Why don’t you start with some research first? I am sure there is a lot of effort put into the study of the conduct of the emergency vehicles and all you need to do is to find it. I know pseudopsychology à la Malcolm Gladwell can be very amusing to many, but this form of approaching a question of interest is just a waste of time. Get some books.

There’s lots of this fluff. Has been for awhile. I think people are finding this forum a good place to discuss laundry in a calm, generously moderated environment.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Fluff…

Might I point out that none of my reasons have been refuted, and only one even contested.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 15 March 2011 10:39 AM

Fluff…

Might I point out that none of my reasons have been refuted, and only one even contested.

Aside from your issue with warning sirens, which I think is pretty ridiculous, I feel(my opinion) that you are taking liberal advantage of the forum thread dept. “General Discussion”.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Direct me to the “challenging things that no one ever questions” forum and I will take my discussion there. Maybe even start another voicing my opinion of marriage as an outdated concept with no purpose in a free society aside form making work for lawyers.

Question everything.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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It’s fine to discuss this here. If it doesn’t interest people they don’t have to read the thread or respond.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 15 March 2011 11:26 AM

Question everything.

Yeah!  Like why do so many people use the same languages?  (Use your own, man!)  Or why should I have to wear pants in public?  (Bunch of prudes.)  Or why should I obey traffic laws?  (You can see me swerving, get out of my way.)

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Posted: 15 March 2011 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Stupid questions serve no purpose.

Why are there so many languages? Why do we not have our own fur? What is the best way to facilitate the flow of traffic?

Simple changes turn stupid questions into interesting discussions.

Now take your interesting discussions elsewhere so I can see if my stance on sirens withstands scrutiny.

[ Edited: 15 March 2011 05:06 PM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 15 March 2011 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I felt that you must not live in a city, and you verified that.  I live in the densely populated Los Angeles area, and quite frequently, while I’m driving on a local, multiple lane divided highway in the middle of a city, I hear the sirens and move over to the right in anticipation, because very often a large truck or even a van blocks my view even while checking all three of my rearview mirrors. 

Just yesterday, I was stopped at a traffic light second in line behind a large SUV.  I heard a siren and looked around but couldn’t see anything,  Then it came into view.  It was a fire rescue vehicle coming in the opposite direction.  The street was divided with three lanes and a left turn lane in each direction.  The light was red.  There were about four cars in each lane including the left turn lane.  The truck, with flashing lights and siren was behind them and couldn’t get around them.  Since the light was red, they were stuck.  After a few moments, the first drivers in two of the lanes cautiously drove through the intersection being careful of the cross-traffic which couldn’t see the fire-truck because of buildings at the corners.  finally, enough of the other drivers caught on and did the same so the emergency vehicle got through.  I’m quite certain that most of the drivers at or near the front in those lanes would have had their vision blocked so they wouldn’t have seen the vehicle.  The siren was the important clue that helped them know that they had to do something.

There are enough different necessary items to observe as well as distractions like signs, other drivers, one’s own radio, etc. that it’s important that emergency vehicles use both vision and hearing to announce their presence.   

Yes, there are occasional accidents where a driver or emergency vehicle personnel are injured or killed, but using a very large sample, I’d say that the number of people saved far, far, far outweigh these very rare problems.

Your argument that often the emergency isn’t life threatening may be, but it’s very seldom that the emergency personnel or the caller know that.  When I had my heart attack, I called my doctor who told me to call 911 immediately.  I did so, grabbed an aspirin, chewed it, grabbed a small backpack, threw in a couple of underwear changes, a few paperback books, paper and writing instruments, small radio and earphones, then went out to the curb, heard the ambulance coming from the next street over, and they took me to the hospital.  I wasn’t panicked and it was only a moderate coronary incident, but they didn’t know that.  I could easily been close to death.  So, yes, sirens are quite necessary.

I’m sorry, if the noise offends your bucolic sensitivities, but my only suggestion is rather than moving closer to the cities, move farther from any roads and avoid using them.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Hey I live near LA in Ventura County….

My son got in a similar situation were a firetruck was stuck behind him at an intersection with a red light. So my son pulled out into the intersection to make way and allow the firetruck to pass. A cop at the intersection saw this take place and gave him a ticket.  hmmm

Anyway I saw a show that they are adding audio cues to fighter pilots’ cockpits. They have a lot of activity to monitor in the cockpit and they can respond much quicker to audio cues. I mean they don’t have to be looking at a particular instrument to be aware that something is wrong. And humans can easily enough discern between different sounds.

Obviously drivers in cars have many things to distract them. Maybe they shouldn’t/ought not be behind the wheel but they are. So you got to deal with the way things are, not how they ought to be. I don’t think half the drivers are paying attention to what is going on around them. The other half are trying to get where they want to go as fast as possible and will break as many rules as they think they can get away with to accomplish that end.

I’d prefer they use whatever attention getting mechanisms as possible to get the attention of the distracted driving masses.

Yeah there are a few annoying side effects we could probably do away with if everyone was as perfect a driver as me.  rolleyes
But, you know, that’s not the world we live in.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I’ll bet your son could have beaten that ticket.  The Dept. of Motor Vehicle code specifically says something that covers the situation that if an officer waves you on, past a red light, you are to follow his/her orders, rather than obeying the traffic signal.  In your son’s case, the emergency vehicle was, in effect, ordering him to move out of the way.  Unless the officer could show that he could have done it without going through the intersection, I think the judge would have found him not guilty.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I see how auditory cues can be very useful in certain situations. In such situations employing a loud distinctive horn would achieve the same, or better, results. While the constant wail of a siren has drawbacks including, but probably not limited to, the ones I referenced in my opening post.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 15 March 2011 06:55 AM

I don’t live in a city. And I must confess this may affect my experience with sirens, and the conclusions I reach based on my experience. However, I still cannot fathom a reason to use sirens when the ambulance driver is presumably a professional, horns can alert oblivious drivers (who should not even be driving) and people are almost always easier to move around when they aren’t trying to get out of your way.

Well, in the hills and curves of MO, they are a necessity for many of the same reasons Doug pointed out, except it’s not tall buildings we are talking about.  One can’t always see flashing lights around a curve or coming up over the hell…  Um, typo, but if you seen the hills in MO…  LOL  Seriously and without typos, some of the hills roads are built on are pretty BIG.  They don’t call them the Ozark Mountains for nothing.  In fact, the roads in back woods MO are some of the most dangerous roads to drive and I learned how to drive on those roads.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Occam. - 15 March 2011 03:56 PM

I’m sorry, if the noise offends your bucolic sensitivities

I had to look up “bucolic.” I like the sound of the word: it almost sounds as what it represents.

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Posted: 15 March 2011 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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There are a number of troubles with horns.  First, they are also used by truckers, by trains, and others because they are generally available so one couldn’t tell from the sound if it’s an emergency vehicle or some jerk.  Second, the sirens are consistent, while horns would have to be intermittent.  Third, I would find loud horns far more annoying and intrusive than a siren.

If you don’t like sirens but are OK with loud horms, it would seem that there’s some deeper underlying basis for this.  Could you tell us what it is about sirens that causes you discomvort?

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Posted: 15 March 2011 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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In the case of a serious car accident you have what we call a ‘golden hour’ to get the victim to a level 4 trauma center in order to optimize their chances of not only survival, but to minimize disability. Every minute counts.

When my son was in the 7th grade, he had an anaphylactic reaction at school. Not only did they take him Code III, but they stayed on the phone with the base station as they struggled to save his life, to determine which hospital would be the most appropriate to take him. Because the decision changed several times en-route as the hospital EDs were scrambling to get ready for him, I ended up in one hospital, and his father in another based on the info we were given at the time we were notified.

When my son was 14 he hit his head, and several hours later, he started having a seizure. I called 911, and the (poorly trained) answering paramedics were not as impressed with his condition as I was they decided to take him Code II to a hospital that had no facilities to treat him. I showed them my license and my work badge and told them to take him to a trauma center, and they completely blew me off. When we got to the hospital, it took me a minute to talk to the nurse, who instructed them to do as I asked because they could not treat him there. THEN we went Code III to the trauma center that had been waiting a half hour for him as he continued to seize. They very pointedly asked the sheepish paramedics “what took you so long?”. If he had been bleeding into his brain, those minutes would have made a BIG difference. Luckily, his brain was only bruised.

When I was in my 20s I lived in a duplex which caught fire one night. A man died in the house on the other side and we barely got out with our lives.

The point is; Emergency vehicles travel Code III because it is an emergency, and you need to get over it. I’m sure you would not sacrifice a family member in the event of an emergency, just because you don’t want to wake the neighbors.

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