She’ll wail again

Iconic fire depart­ment siren in Har­bour Grace re­vi­tal­ized

The Compass - - COMPASS -

In an era be­fore pagers, cell phones and the like, mem­bers of the Har­bour Grace Vol­un­teer fire Bri­gade were alerted to calls for as­sis­tance by a blast from a siren. Two sirens were used to no­tify fire­fight­ers of emer­gen­cies.

One of th­ese mam­moth sirens was mounted on the old Liquor Store on Ban­ner­man Street — now the Hy­drant Club — and the other mounted on a tower atop Pike’s Hill — an area known lo­cally as the plan­ta­tion.

Over time, th­ese were re­placed by newer tech­nol­ogy and taken down.

One was kept by the town to be used as the noon­time siren and for the “emer­gency mea­sures plan.” This lone siren was moved around due to ren­o­va­tions ended up on a pal­let be­hind the S. W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

The Bri­gade’s re­tired mem­ber­ship — the Top of The Lad­der Club (TOLC) — were up­set with this ne­glect and de­cided to take on the pro­ject of restor­ing the unit and putting it back into ser­vice.

The unit was taken to ap­pren­tice elec­tri­cian Ger­ald Sul­li­van Jr. who, fol­low­ing an in­spec­tion of the de­vice, told the TOLC mem­bers that while it needed work the unit was very sal­vage­able.

At the TOLC quar­terly meet­ings a com­mit­tee was formed and a mo­tion passed to ap­proach coun­cil to pro­pose re­fur­bish­ing the unit. Coun­cil was very re­cep­tive to the plan and found fund­ing to have the unit re­fur­bished.

It was agreed that the unit should be in­stalled on the roof of the Fire Hall where it will once again re­turn to its for­mer du­ties, which in­cluded the noon­time whis­tle that towns­folk will re­mem­ber from the days of the fish­ery and the more im­por­tant role of a blast an­nounc­ing a call for as­sis­tance in the event of mod­ern equip­ment fail­ure or a disas­ter.

The restora­tion pro­ject fell into the hands of recre­ation and main­te­nance su­per­vi­sor Dave Reg­u­lar.

“We had the unit’s hous­ing work com­pleted by AirCo Sheet Me­tal Inc. in Green’s Har­bour, Re­built Pumps and Mo­tors from Car­bon­ear re­wound the mo­tor and C and E Elec­tri­cal from Har­bour Grace ran the wiring for the pro­ject,” he said. “I would like to ac­knowl­edge the TOLC for there ini­tia­tive in start­ing the pro­ject and the town coun­cil for its sup­port of the restora­tion of the unit, there aren’t many like it around and I am proud to have been a part of the pro­ject.”

Reg­u­lar, a 36-year ac­tive mem­ber of the bri­gade, ex­plained the process to re­fur­bish the unit.

The first blast of the noon­time whis­tle is sched­ule for Tues­day, July 16th 2013 at the Fire Hall on Ban­ner­man Street in Har­bour Grace. Robert Lynch writes from Har­bour Grace

and is a re­tired fire fighter and the pres­i­dent of the Top Of the Lad­der Club

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