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Screaming Sirens Center of Suit

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SCRANTON -- Some call it one of the hazards of the job -- dozens of firefighters from Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties have joined a legal fight against a maker of sirens, saying the sound has affected their hearing.

Seventy firefighters are listed as plaintiffs on the lawsuit that's resurfacing now after first being filed about 15 years ago.

That lawsuit was filed this week in Lackawanna County court. It seeks damages from a company called Federal Signal, one of the biggest makers of sirens.

It's the sound we associate with firefighters and it's being called into question by a 15-year-old lawsuit that's just resurfaced in Lackawanna County court.

The lawsuit was first filed in 2002 against Federal Signal of Illinois. An attorney for the company told Newswatch 16 that a judge in Illinois ruled that the suit must be refiled locally.

Firefighters involved in the suit are from Scranton, Dunmore, and Wilkes-Barre.

Firefighters we talked to say because of the time that's passed, some of the plaintiffs have died, many of them are retired.

Scranton Fire Chief Pat DeSarno showed us the type of siren in question. The city only has one truck that still has the "e-Q2B siren" on it.

Chief DeSarno says he and other firefighters had their hearing tested close to 20 years ago. Those with hearing loss were asked if they wanted to be part of the lawsuit.

The attorney for Federal Signal says the company faces about 2,500 such lawsuits across the country. The one here in our area alleges the sirens were defective and did not have the proper covering to make sure the sound only projects forward.

The lawsuit is asking for damages but if the suit is successful, each firefighter would get, at most, a few thousand dollars.

The attorney representing the siren company says it's won a similar case in Pittsburgh, and it's currently fighting one in Philadelphia. Federal Signal plans to fight this one too.


  • duh

    Well if these fire people wouldn’t be blairing the siren responding to every stupid tree down, vehicle leaking fuel, pole down, flooded basement and squirrel caught in a tree, that would perhaps reduce their hearing issues!

    • larry

      yup…well put….in my township these people go flying lights and sirens like maniacs to every little stupid thing to make themselves look like they actually have something important. I don’t have a problem with this when its an actually emergency (which more than 3/4 of the time it usually isn’t) A pick up truck leaking fuel or a tree down blocking a one lane country road that sees 10 cars a day is no reason to fly with the sirens going, and putting the public at risk….these are not true emergencies and these fire companies do this all the time, even after they are requested to respond “normal flow” These people really need another hobby to get their rocks off!

  • How sad

    Yeah you shouldn’t praise firefighters or the police, a lot of them are good ppl the rest are degenerates like the rest of you cry babies

  • Really guys?

    As a firefighter I find this suit ridiculous and embarrassing. The hearing loss wouldn’t have anything to do with using saws, standing next to screaming engines, or even deer hunting without hearing protection, right? It’s just that darn Q siren. Between the arsonists, embezzlers, and now this – really guys? Thanks for helping out the ranks.

    • Pay me now or pay me later

      Donate, or pay higher taxes when they can’t pay their bills. Municipalities have a legal obligation to have fire protective services – they’ll get their money one way or the other.

      • Sam I Am

        I will stop donating my yearly $200.00 and gladly take a $5-$10 tax increase, since it will be spread out to all taxpayers.

      • Your call

        Not sure where you live, but our fire tax is around $15 a year now. They can raise it to $90 without a vote or referendum. Your call. Oh, guess who gets a break on their taxes when the firefighter tax relief incentive goes through? Not you.

      • reggie

        Doesn’t matter….if you donate to the fire company they steal it…..if you quit donating to the fire company then the dirt bag politicians will steal your money by raising your taxes (since its the municipalities responsibility to provide fire protection) so either way us “Joe tax payer” is screwed!

    • Bartletts Familiar Quotations

      You mean donating some of the extra profits from your “successful business” that you own?

    • Bartletts Familiar Quotations

      Dude, if you’re sheparding your businesses all day, how do you have time to troll. I think you’re perhaps stretching the truth?

  • TrumpTrainOne

    all I hear about is how there is a lack of volunteer firefighters. Don’t anyone sign up to be a firefighter now u might loose your hearing. job is to dangerous. Everyone stay home. Don’t be a volunteer firefighter.

    • Jack Hosender

      Well sir if your home is in a rural area then you have volunteers for the most part. So I would pray with all that you have that you do not have to suffer a fire in your house. VOLUNTEERS will be saving your back side.

    • Susan E Phillips

      Jack is right. For the most part rural areas rely on volunteers for fire, ambulance and a number of other things. It didn’t say this was volunteer firefighters. Scranton, Dunmore and Wilkes Barre??? all paid fire depts. so their will go your taxes :-)

  • John Mcdoo

    You have got to be fng kidding me you imbeciles! If you knew it was bothering you just put ear plugs in! You need to be told this? ” in other news a local short woman is suing the city because they built the sidewalks too close to her bottom”! It’s not that she’s vertically challenged

    • Former volly firefighter

      That’s basically how the sirens that they are complaining about work. Yes they are loud, and have been on fire apparatus for years. They are loud, and are meant to be loud… just a stupid lawsuit in my opinion.

      • Bob Smith

        I agree with you! I do have hearing problem….. I’ve lived in Houston fire trucks there is louder than ambulances. What the city need to do? Contact Sony to get a unique siren system with Patti LaBelle sings in best and soft siren sound but, I guarantee glass won’t crack!

  • Sam I Am

    What’s next, our military filing a lawsuit due to loud gunfire, oh wait I forgot that our armed forces are not in a union.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Now this may be the pinnacle of frivolous lawsuits in America!!

    I love watching it all fall apart……

    • Bob Smith

      Frivolous lawsuits happens everywhere since early 1990’s when congress capped or forbid type of damages. And, I think they weren’t educated either.

  • Lance

    You got to be kidding? The siren has to be loud how will people hear it over the noise of the day cars and of course the random shootings. Put on some ear plugs.

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