logo.gif (2301 bytes) Cheat Lake
Volunteer Fire Department
Monongalia County, West Virginia
Company 14

              Welcome to our siren information page.
Many questions have been asked by local residents about our fire department siren.  Below we try to answer common questions.

Why does CLVFD have a siren?
This siren is a emergency response device utilized to alert local volunteer firefighters that there is an emergency.  Volunteers then respond to the fire department to acquire their equipment and respond with the appropriate fire apparatus.  Along with the siren activation, a radio announcement is made, a radio page is sent to volunteers with voice pagers, and now a text message is also sent to volunteers' cell phone. 

Who activates the siren?
Our siren is activated by MECCA 911.  In most situations, 911 receives a phone call reporting an emergency, then enters the information into their system and alerts the needed emergency crews (police, fire, EMS, etc.)  At this point, the radio announcement is made to alert volunteers to respond to the fire department and respond to an emergency.  Next, the radio pagers, text messages, and sirens are activated to alert any volunteers that do not constantly listen to the radio announcements. If there is not a fire truck responding within 2 minutes, the 911 center may activate the pagers and siren again. Also, if another emergency arises, the siren will activate for that call.

Why does it go off so often?
Our fire department averages from 600 to 900 emergency calls every year.  We have been experiencing a rise in emergencies over the past years with the opening of the new expressway (43), more residential fire alarms being installed, a resident population increase, and additional emergencies that the local fire departments are being call to assist with.  So, on average, this means our siren is activated 3 times every day.  Also, depending on the availability of volunteers to respond, this could be 6 times per day if a second alert is required to alert more volunteers.

Can you turn it off?
Physically, yes, we can disconnect the power and it can stand silent.  We are still required to have a siren available for use should a national emergency occur.  Here are the current issues we are trying to receive public input on:
~Turning the siren off could mean some volunteers will not know an emergency is occurring, and therefore will not respond.

~The current radio system does not work in all areas.  There are even places in the fire station that our radios/pagers do not work. Can we upgrade the system to be more reliable?  Who will pay for the upgrade/equipment? 
~The text messages that are sent from 911 to volunteers depend on cell phone towers, cell phone reception, and network availability.  This leaves a lot of room for failure.
~The question we must ask ourselves is: If I am involved in a fire, car accident, medical emergency, etc... How long do I want to wait for help? Will 2 minutes make a difference?  If cell phone towers are damaged, will any volunteers know there is an emergency?

These are just some of the questions received; please contact Paul at contact@cheatlakevfd.org to add your question or comments.
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