It's Tuesday June 18, 2013
October 30, 2012
I have followed the discussions and debate surrounding the future site of the Oriental Fire District siren with interest. Because I live in Florence, I have no vested interest in the final decision about placement of the siren. However, I have a few observations and suggestions that might help inform the ongoing discussions.
In the late 1960’s, while a doctoral student at UCLA, my research activities included participation in a two-year study of the effects of jet noise on inhabitants in the region surrounding the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The research involved measuring several acoustic properties of jet noise, including loudness and aversiveness, over carefully sampled locations in that large area.
Based on experience gained in that research, and graduate-level training in acoustics and measurement of the sensory and perceptual characteristics of speech and sound, I can say with confidence that doing a credible and professional assessment of the geographical reach, propagation, and detectability of siren noise would be non-trivial and very expensive — especially in a region as windy and environmentally complex as the Oriental area. A credible study would require specialized equipment (e.g. sound spectrometer, specialized microphones, and recording devices). Following collection of the data, someone with specialized knowledge about sound measurement and appropriate statistical methods would have to code, aggregate, analyze and interpret those data.
Fire Chief Arnfast was justifiably skeptical in questioning the credibility of hoist-testing of the siren by amateurs. Driving a keen listener around the Fire District to haphazardly selected locations, hanging a head (or heads?) out the car window, and then deciding if a siren noise is detectable will not yield useful or defensible results. The cost of even a scientifically sound, “bare-bones” study would be prohibitive.
Further complicating the matter, Mr. Maxbauer and Mayor Sage seem to have an interest in determining the optimal location for the siren, an enterprise that would involve dragging the crane-cum-siren-dangling to several possible sites, repeating the acoustic measurements at the various listening locations for each of these prospective siren sites, and so forth.
Regarding the esthetic impact of the siren, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. I think that the siren looks fine above the Town Hall. But, if the town decides to get rid of the siren, I would be pleased to have it hanging on our porch.
The location of the fire siren should be based on where does it serve its purpose best. Set aside the “how it looks” but focus on the purpose of the siren. Then, turn to those who know best.. firemen.
Listen to them, please… They risk their lives and give of their time. They protect this village. Please listen to them.
Martha Gail Good
As a resident of Oriental for over 30 years, I felt compelled to write in to TownDock with regards to the proposal of relocating the fire siren from its present location to the proposed site near the Oriental Women’s Club.
It is my opinion that the dedicated people serving the Oriental Fire Department would have better knowledge of where the best location would be. It also brings me to say that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it; the fire siren has been there for as long as I have lived here and has served us well, so why move it?
I also have to give huge credit to the guys that serve on the Oriental Fire Department as well as all of the other fire departments in Pamlico County. I know and have worked with many of these guys and they are all very dedicated to what they do and take being a firefighter very serious. Alan Arnfast, Dan Forman, Mike Craig, Henry Fraser, Josh Plank, Gary Ramsey and all the guys that come out on freezing cold, rainy days and nights at all hours of the day and night that put themselves at risk to protect and serve, these guys are volunteers, that give their all to be there to help people, again, my appreciation and utmost respect go out to all of them.
Also, a big thanks to Charlie Garrett for being a pioneer in getting the Oriental Fire Department off the ground, for his dedication and knowledge that he provided when he was Chief. The Oriental Fire Department is a well organized unit of talented people that should have the voice to where the best place for the fire sirens best location.
So when it comes time to making the decision on where to have the fire siren located, with all due respect; I hope that you take into consideration the thoughts, ideas and concerns of these truly dedicated people that one day may come to save your home from a fire.
To set the record straight:
Up until last week, and for months, our Town Manager has stated unequivocally that the fire siren would be re-installed at the Town Hall. On Tuesday 10/23 I met with Bob Maxbauer in his office. He stated and I quote, “I have made an executive decision that the fire siren will be installed at well #2 on Gilgo Rd.” (hence the installation pole located there). Further, and I quote him again, “They can fight it out in the papers and the news media on whether it stays there or not.” I told Bob Maxbauer at that time that we needed to stop and re-think the location.
The next meeting was the special Town Meeting on Monday which was very well covered by Towndock; I will let you come to your own conclusions there. At the end of this meeting the Town Board suggested that it wanted to keep the siren at Town Hall and not move it. The Town Commissioners asked that the fire department and Town Manager get together to find a solution for wiring the Town Hall that would be far less than the $7,000-$12,000 figure that the Town Manager presented.
Alan Arnfast, Bob Dales, Dan Forman, and Mike Guzzo, all volunteer firemen, met at 9 am Tuesday with Bob Maxbauer, Larry Summers and Barb Venturi. By the end of that meeting it was determined that the cost to install the siren would not be $7,000 to $12,000, but could be done for under $2,000, which the Fire Department would pay if need be. Bob Maxbauer agreed 100% to have the siren at the Town Hall and even discussed the location behind the building. Barb Venturi said she saw no reason why the rest of the board would not agree as 2 members were there and the Town Manager is in agreement. At the end of the meeting Bob Maxbauer apologized to me for his behavior when he met with me the week before; I gladly accepted, and hands were shaken.
One thing is crystal clear to this writer and that is that our Town Manager is not forthcoming and has not been sincere. We can all agree to disagree, but we must have straightforward discussions when it involves public safety and other matters dealing with our town.
The letter writer is a volunteer firefighter with the Southeast Pamlico Volunteer Fire District.
Since it was discovered that a three phase converter could be used with a single phase, the siren could be located anywhere. It would be obvious that the siren be located where more people can hear it. If it is located on the water tower which is near the fire department, it could be erected 100+ feet in the air and could be heard by everyone in Town, the White Farm area and possibly Oriental Plantation. A test to see if that is possible is a great idea. If it is used for a Civil Defense Alert or a tornado warning, wouldn’t you want others to benefit, not just the residents of Oriental.
Irma Fay Bond-Maxbauer
The letter writer is the wife of Town Manager Bob Maxbauer
Please, Mayor and Town Commissioners, return the siren to where it was located, and when you hear it go off at 2 am say a little prayer for the person or persons in need and the 20+ firemen and first responders putting their lives in harm’s way to save life and property.
Should we not respect the professional opinion of the Fire Chief Alan Arnfast and the fire department? As another individual previously wrote, “enough said”.
Dear TownDock Editor.
Though my tenure as a member of the Southeast Pamlico VFD was short lived due to injuries suffered in a wreck, it is a tenure of which I am very proud.
As a novice firefighter, I was justifiably impressed with the outstanding professionalism and remarkable skills of the firefighters, especially Alan Arnfast with whom I was partnered with on the old Auto Car diesel. That antique has since found its way back to its original home in Hockessin, MD. I vividly recall Alan’s careful instructions on my first call to a fully involved structure, a home during the Christmas season, and also Danny Foreman’s extremely practical leadership at my first grass/woods fire.
I learned to trust the professionals, especially those who volunteer to spend hours upon hours in training and who are willing to leave the comfort of a warm bed in the middle of a cold winter night – all on a volunteer basis. Inside a burning structure, there is usually no greater trust than that amongst firefighters who cannot see in front of their faces.
If the professionals have weighed in on where the town’s siren should be, ‘nuff said.
Editor, Town Dock:
It appears that my previous letter was in part at least, premature.
I encourage Oriental’s citizens who wish to support the SE Volunteer Fire Department to attend the Tuesday evening Commissioner’s meeting.
The location of the Oriental Fire Siren has already been discussed enough and its final place should probably be left to those who have the responsibility of operating the fire district.
However, there is no necessity to have the power company install, at apparently great expense, three phase lines to run the siren. $7000 was mentioned as the cost of having the power company provide three phase service.
Many home shop people and small businesses operate machines on three phase power by installing a single phase to three phase converter at a cost of hundreds, not thousands of dollars. Such converters are well proven, reliable and provide three phase power much cheaper than having the commercial power company do it.
Dear Letter to the Editor,
I attended the same special town board meeting about the siren that the “Town Dock” reported on, and I feel your editorial did not accurately represent what really went on at that meeting. “The Pamlico News“ and the “County Campus” did a much better job without the inaccurate slant that the “Town Dock’s reported.
With all your negativity that you contrived from the meeting, you should have reported on the rudeness of a few that were in attendance. I was appalled at some of the sly comments that were sneaking out of their mouths since this meeting was only about the siren.
My dad, John Bond, actually built the first town hall and was the chief designer and general contractor and never charged the town for any of his labor and my husband is doing the same. It would cost the town hundreds of thousands to hire such people.
Bob Maxbauer is a tremendously talented man and needs to be appreciated for his efforts. This project isn’t about Bob or his seeking any praise, nor was it for my dad. They both are trying to help the town fulfill a need. Bob is so fortunate to have such a capable staff and the support of his commissioners to allow him to attempt such an endeavor.
Bob’s main objective is to get them a home again. His staff, commissioners and the town have been out of their main building for over a year and it is getting tiring for them. My husband has put his heart and soul into building this building for the town and he is under a tremendous amount of pressure to complete this project.
Bob won’t be town managed for long so you better appreciate him while he is. It is so easy to sit back and crisis, but these unnecessary comments tear down the goodness that is being done. Sham of those rude attendees and shame on you Town Dock. Where is your support?
Irma Fay Bond-Maxbauer
I would like to express my appreciation to Oriental’s elected officials for their rapid and effective response to the fire (and tornado) siren issue when it became publicly known.
Equally, I wish to commend the Volunteer Fire Department and their Chief, Alan Arnfast for their steadfast, articulate and effective representation of the needs that support the responsibility that they shoulder on the public’s behalf.
The cooperation and contributions of the Town Manager during negotiations are also appreciated.
If, indeed, the agreement Tuesday between the Town and the Volunteer Fire Department is completed (and I know no reason why it should not) it will serve as an example of how conflicts can be resolved.
A special thanks to my neighbors, Missy Tenhet and Neill and Jennifer Haggard for “raising the alarm” when the possibility of the inappropriate relocation of the alarm became public knowledge.
Well done, all.
I hope the siren will remain at Town Hall where it has been for years. It appears the firefighters prefer that location so I hope the Town listens to them. When people choose a place to live they do so hopefully knowing not only all the benefits but also the negatives. Most people living next to or near Town Hall chose to do so knowing about the siren, however moving it to another location will unfairly impact those who live nearby. They may not have chosen to live near the Woman’s Club if the siren was in that location.
Moving it from a location that has been in use for many many years, one which has served the area well, one that is centrally located and is preferred by the very people who depend on it the most would be a tragic mistake. To think that the physical appearance of the siren was a reason to move it is ridiculous, the Town should be thinking about the best location that will help save the most lives and property.
Once again I feel the need to add my two cents worth about the goings on in Oriental. We do own a lot there, yes in the city limits, but have not yet built. But with the lot we are on the tax rolls and you know how us taxpayers can get crabby about public officials.
As we don’t live there yet I don’t have much to reference in the settlement of where the fire siren should go. I however do lean to placing it back at the Town Hall…the proverbial “that’s the way it has always been” seems to fit this situation.
My distress comes from the quote listed on the Town Dock site this date: “Maxbauer referenced himself in the third person, interjecting that “a comment like that is disappointing to the Manager trying to raise and elevate this community.”
My, my. The last time I heard someone use the third person regarding themselves was the Queen of England. I personally think the Queen can get away with it as my mother is English, is still a British citizen and a life long royalist. Me mum’s eighty-nine and uses the Queen’s English to the point that I have to interpret some things she says even to my husband.
Oh, and the part about “trying to raise and elevate this community”, perhaps “himself” could use his regal power to elevate our lot a little, you know just in case of another Irene or Sandy.
Plan to drag me mum along when we move there. Perhaps she and “himself” can have cups of tea together while discussing the utter lack of grace about the raising and elevating.
A letter from Bill and Maggie Arndt, sent to the Town Manager, Robert Maxbauer, and shared here for Letters To The Editor.
Dear Mr. Maxbauer;
We have been informed by various individuals that the Town of Oriental plans to relocate the warning siren presently at the town hall to a spot nearby the Oriental Woman’s Club.
As a resident located near the proposed site, we strongly object to this proposal. We see no reason to relocate the siren from its present spot, nor has any resident been notified of this arbitrary move.
I have personally talked to the SPFD fire chief, Alan Arnfast and the fire department is objecting to this move also. I would suggest that the Town Board address this prior to any change.
Bill and Maggie Arndt
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