Someone has repeatedly broken a siren used to alert Washington Township's volunteer firefighters when there's an emergency.
The siren, located in the woods to the south of Kennedy Drive, is one of four used by the Washington Township Fire Department. It has been repaired and re-disabled four or five times over the years, according to Fire Chief Jamie Powell.
"It's so hard to get people to respond to fires," Powell said. "You need that ultimate notification system."
The fire department uses the sirens in conjunction with radios, pagers and cell phone notifications to alert its volunteers. The sirens remain an important way to reach some of the firefighters, according to Powell.
Two of the township's other sirens — located at the municipal building and fire department building — were repaired a few months ago, drawing some complaints from residents about the noise. The fourth siren always worked.
Powell said the repaired sirens were not any louder than they had previously been, and were likely quieter than newer electronic sirens used in Westwood and Hillsdale. The sirens are also rarely used between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
"It's a momentary inconvenience," Powell said of the noise.
Repairing the Kennedy Drive siren has become more difficult because someone dumped dirt on the unpaved path used to access it, according to Fire Director Tom Sears.
Officials discussed the problem during a council meeting last week and suggested moving the Kennedy Drive siren to a different location, possibly the nearby Immaculate Heart Academy.
"You probably have one disgruntled resident who's doing it," Council President Steve Cascio said.