Council chooses to stick with fire siren after complaint from King George Seniors

King George Seniors Affordable Housing wants fire siren derailed in town, but council believes there is more pros than cons to it

The Town of Lake Cowichan is set to stick with the fire siren at the Lake Cowichan Fire Department despite complaints from local seniors.

At last Tuesday’s CLEC, Lakeview and Fire Department Committee meeting at the town hall, council received a letter from King George Seniors Affordable Housing recommending the removal of the siren.

“At our recent directors meeting the subject of the fire siren was discussed,” wrote office manager Margaret Beldessi to council. “Our tenants are frequently disturbed at night. This is especially stressful for those who experienced war and its terror. They awake panicked as their first thought is to danger themselves. We understand the firemen are contacted by pagers so why is it necessary to have the siren sound at all?”

The town’s chief administrative officer Joe Fernandez has already asked for the advice of fire chief Doug Knott who “doesn’t see this as a workable solution.”

“The siren is used to get the requirement out to the fire hall,” said Fernandez at the meeting. “It’s the best way to get them to respond. If you were just to have pagers, you would have to establish a roll call.

“I spoke with Sam Beldessi and his suggestion was to have it turned off from midnight until dawn as their concern is when it comes on at night.”

Mayor Ross Forrest believes the siren should remain and is a good thing.

“Other communities still have sirens as well,” said the mayor. “It’s also there to notify the public. When they hear the siren going, they are supposed to be alert.  The public is supposed to know.”

Coun. Jayne Ingram is also in favour of keeping the siren.

“During the day, if I have the sprinklers on, the first thing I do when I hear the siren is shut them off. It’s something you’re always supposed to do,” she said.

Council will now respond to King George Seniors Affordable Housing with a letter.