Letter to the Editor: Sounding the Alert

To the Editor:

At a recent Barnegat Light Taxpayers Association general meeting, a citizen asked why the borough does not replace the external siren for emergency calls with a modern silent system of notification. His concern was the noise from the siren is too loud and awakens his grandchildren when sleeping.

The mayor acknowledged that within a few years, with advancing technology and coordination with the mainland, a silent alert system to notify emergency personnel is coming to Barnegat Light. To me, that will be a sad day for our community.

The siren serves an essential purpose and public service to our community beyond the noise created from the sound. Hearing the siren alerts the public to have a heightened awareness of their immediate surroundings and to be mindful that volunteers from the town are responding and driving from their homes, the beach, work or wherever to get to the firehouse quickly and into emergency vehicles to attend the call.

Not only does the siren provide a safety service to the Barnegat Light community, it is a reminder that volunteers from the community are leaving their families in the cold of night and heat of summer, potentially risking their health to help an individual or individuals in need.

Long gone from most communities, because of noise complaints, is the callback siren, informing the community that the emergency is over and everyone is returning home safely. When I hear the sound of the sirens, I think of the volunteers.

So next time you hear the siren, and it may sound at 11 p.m. or 4 a.m., and it certainly may waken the grandkids, I ask that you not think of the siren as just noise or an annoyance. Instead, think of the siren as an alert system for us all living in Barnegat Light to be mindful of our surroundings and the opportunity to reflect and think of the volunteers who are answering the call on our behalf and allowing us to roll over and return to a “sound” sleep.

Carolyn Goeckel, Barnegat Light

Reposted from The Sandpaper