NEW YORK CITY – in the New Jersey and New York City area, over 4,000 firefighters are filing suit against truck siren manufacturers over claims of permanent hearing loss as a result of years of exposure to the sirens.
Many of the veteran firefighters, who have been exposed to the loud sirens for years, have experienced significant hearing loss as a result and many of them now wear hearing aids.
Federal Signal, a major manufacturer of fire truck sirens, has denied liability for the claims. The company’s attorney, J. David Duffy, provided a response to the allegations to Pix 11 News in New York:
“Sirens are vital public safety products and save lives. Federal Signal has strong defenses to these cases. It is committed to defending its quality siren products and will litigate these cases as necessary”
Increasing Awareness; Calls for Change
Many estimates peg a typical ambulance or fire truck siren in the neighborhood of 120-130 decibels (dB). Exposure at these levels without hearing protection, even for a brief period of time, is capable of permanent hearing damage.
For this reason, there are growing calls in the firefighting community to replace the traditional sirens with slightly quieter electronic sirens, rather than the traditional mechanical version used by many departments.
The latest lawsuit is certainly not the first time firefighters and other first responders have claimed they have acquired hearing loss due to exposure to from loud sirens. Siren manufacturers, such as Federal Signal, have been subject to allegations and lawsuits claiming hearing loss for a number of years.
According to the attorney for the firefighters, building the legal case has already been a 2 year process and additional claimants are expected.
A quick settlement to the claims is not expected and a court resolution will likely take years to complete.