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Using different siren sounds/modes?

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  • Using different siren sounds/modes?

    Thanks: Hello there again and let me thank you all for the great previous answers and also for the yet to become future answers!

    Q 1: I have seen (on TV since I don't live in the states... Well at least not yet) that police have many choices that what sirens tones they want to use.

    I did a quick search to this site that sells sirens (Federal Signal) among other related products and since I'm not a police officer nor do I live in USA I have no idea that how many of you officers have your department vehicles equipped with Fed-Sig sirens but these are the different siren tones that I found in their site:

    There are:
    1) Wailing
    2) Yelp
    3) Priority
    4) Hi-Low
    5) Scan
    6) Wind Down

    It's interesting that most sirens have at least tones 1, 2, 3 and 4 and I was wondering that where are those different tones meant to be used and how?

    Also manual is probably meant to be used as quick way to make someone notice the officer e.g. officers wants the driver in front of him/her to stop?

    I have few guesses but since I have also probably written enough already and you officers know the right answers anyway I don't want to bother people more by typing wrong guesses here...

    Q 2: I have noticed that not very often if ever police use tones 4 and 5. Only ones I've seen a clip where a police sergeant used the scan mode while arriving on a scene and couple of times seen NYPD use Hi-Low. It seems that ambulances use Hi-Low tone most often and even them don't tend to over use it.

    So I guess even if officers have the choice of Hi-Low they don't want to use it?

    Misc: Interesting thing that here where I live (Finland, Europe) emergency vehicles seem to have either the choice of on or off in sirens. I live in the second largest city Turku and I have only heard the following combinations:

    1) Hi-Low / Yelp (sirens starts with Hi-Low and automaticly changes to yelp after 10 seconds and then back to Hi-Low etc.)
    2) Wailing / Yelp (same as above but the siren changes tone from wailing two times up and down and then to yelp for few seconds and back to wailing)
    3) Wailing (just wailing no other tone)

    Rant: Following text is not (that) important. It's a rant about finnish sirens and their quality.

    Seriously I have never heard anywhere inside Finland different tones or combos and I travel around Finland a lot since I have friends and relative from north to south.

    I must say though that fire trucks have air horns but they almost never ever use them. And all the sirens that emergency vehicles use (including police) are very quiet for some reason. I have mistaken to think countless times that a emergency vehicle is running just with lights but when they pass me while sitting inside a car you can barely just and just hear the siren. And what comes to those fire truck air horns... They are barely louder than regular car horns. Don't know what's up with that.

  • #2
    I change the sound as I clear intersections while running code in hopes that maybe the change is sound will grab the attention of other drivers so that they see me and don't hit me. I also hit the air horn coming into intersections for the same reason.

    The sirens and airhorns on police cars and fire trucks are very loud around here.
    I enjoy life on the dirtroad

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    • #3
      I've noticed that when officers are arriving at the scenes they use wailing in long distances (probably because wailing can be heard further away?).

      Also officers seem to prefer yelp tone while involved in pursuits and yelp or priority while clearing traffic or when stopping at scene.

      BTW even on TV the US police cruiser sirens seem very loud when officers are yelling commands while sirens are on. I really don't know why the sirens are so weak here when they should be like there.

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      • #4
        Wail is the old standard in siren tones. My former department required that you use wail because our traffic light preemption was based on the siren tone.

        Where I work now, opticom is used so I can use any siren I chose. I still use wail mainly, but when I approach an intersection I have the horn ring set to activate priority. I only use high low or yelp when running code long distances as listening to the same tone can get to you after a while.
        Last edited by smk99; 08-11-2009, 12:15 AM. Reason: sp

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JAR_fin View Post
          I've noticed that when officers are arriving at the scenes they use wailing in long distances (probably because wailing can be heard further away?).

          Also officers seem to prefer yelp tone while involved in pursuits and yelp or priority while clearing traffic or when stopping at scene.

          BTW even on TV the US police cruiser sirens seem very loud when officers are yelling commands while sirens are on. I really don't know why the sirens are so weak here when they should be like there.
          Many sirens are between 100 and 200W. My current set up is two 100w speakers, one on each side of the front under bumper. I would like my department to invest in a growler set up, but I don't think that will happen this fiscal year.

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          • #6
            My favorite is the old "corn grinder" which back in the day was the only option you had. Now fire trucks are the only aparatus that still uses the old "corn grinder". It's also used in conjunction with the more modern siren tones a air horns. IMO nothing on the market beats the corn grinder. The Longer you hold the button down the louder and higher pitched it gets. Every body can hear the corn grinder.

            Check out these links:

            Truck 17 responding as 3rd due truck to a reported house fire in station 30's territory..

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            • #7
              My dept only authorizes Yelp and Wail. We change them as needed while driving. I usually change them a few time at intersections to get the attention of other drivers. My car is set up to change the siren when I push the horn on the car. I can actually make the Yelp and Wail go at the same time. Paramedics do this in my area often.
              Last edited by Mabbottusmc; 08-11-2009, 08:26 PM.

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              • #8
                Another (as yet unmentioned) reason for different tones is when you are responding with other emergency vehicles (i.e. with another cop or an ambulance, etc.).

                It's a good practice to use a tone different than the other emergency vehicle so that as he goes through an intersection other drivers can hear two different tones and likely realize there is another emergency vehicle behind the first.

                Being the second (or third) emergency vehicle through an intersection increases your danger of being hit as most drivers assume there is only one.

                Some horror stories about stuff like that. In my area, more than one kid has been run over. They run to the street to see the emergency vehicle go by, then step into the street to watch the emergency vehicle, not realizing there's a second emergency vehicle going by as well.

                - V

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                • #9
                  I've got three siren settings plus a manual button that will make the pitch higher and an electric "air" horn. A real air horn would be sweet.

                  I tend to use all hi-lo and wail with liberal use of the manual button at intersections.
                  I miss you, Dave.
                  http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by westside popo View Post
                    My favorite is the old "corn grinder" which back in the day was the only option you had. Now fire trucks are the only aparatus that still uses the old "corn grinder". It's also used in conjunction with the more modern siren tones a air horns. IMO nothing on the market beats the corn grinder. The Longer you hold the button down the louder and higher pitched it gets. Every body can hear the corn grinder.

                    Check out these links:

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STkRs...eature=related
                    I've got a Federal Model O siren I'm trying to figure out hjow to mount on our Expedition.....heheheheh

                    Model O is the Q's little little brother.

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                    • #11
                      I changed tones or used the air horn button when approaching intersections or in heavy traffic.

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                      • #12
                        I have the wail, yelp and manual as well as the air horn. Generally like most have mentioned change the siren as I apporach a intersection or if I come up on heavy traffic. Always hit the air horn as I go through interesctions along with changing the siren.
                        sigpic
                        Formerly Username k91376
                        " They Took the BAR!! The whole F%$#ING BAR! "

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                        • #13
                          We use the Smart Siren set up. It has wail, yelp and hyper yelp. In California, the hi lo is not an authorized tone. Some control heads, such as the Unitrol, will have this tone, but Title 13 forbids you from using it.
                          Last edited by Bully; 08-12-2009, 07:29 PM. Reason: Type O
                          God made perfect cops.......The rest he put in cars.

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                          • #14
                            Here is a good article on California regs for sirens and police lighting

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                            • #15
                              My patrol car has 2 different siren sounds. One is a longer tone, the other is rapid. I use the longer tone while driving code 3 with my lights and siren on... when I get near an intersection I switch to the rapid to help clear the intersection....then I go back to the long tone.
                              http://www.truepolicestories.net - my website of all my stories as a police officer. Please read it and become a member!

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