Fire Chief fires back on residents' alarm complaints

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Mount Olive residents voiced their concerns about siren blasts during last week’s monthly board of commissioners meeting.

They didn’t know they’d run into some extra fireworks when Mount Olive Fire Department Chief Greg Wiggins adamantly responded to the complaints.

Wiggins disagreed with residents Joy Brown, and Wendy and Bill Ford after they said, due to modern technology, sirens are obsolete and annoying to nearby neighbors.

Technology is not 100% reliable, particularly with cellphones and pagers, contended Wiggins. He said the siren not only alerts volunteer firemen, but also lets residents know that fire trucks will be on the move.

A truck cannot leave the station with less than four firefighters aboard.

“We cannot be delayed and time is of the essence with our response time,” said Wiggins, who was supported by a standing-room-only crowd that included firemen and other emergency response personnel. “It also reflects our fire rating and that involves how fire insurance rates are set for homeowners and businesses.”

The siren lasts 20 seconds and sounds for every call.

“We cannot wait because lives and property are involved, and there have been times when our communications system was not working properly,” said Wiggins, who also reminded residents he has an open-door policy.

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