Reading all of the stories since the start of the year about the DC Fire & EMS Department you get the indication that there are some very serious problems keeping fire trucks and ambulances on the road and fully staffed. You would think it’s something citizens and community groups would be outraged about.
In fact, in your Nation’s Capital there is a group of citizens in Columbia Heights who have organized and become very vocal about fire department problems. Their concern, following story after story about the readiness of the department, is that the fire trucks are too loud. Yes, these people moved into homes and apartments near a firehouse and now they have the nerve to complain the nap time for their kids is interupted or they can’t sleep at night because the sirens are too loud.
The group calls themselves QuietDC. I say, give them what they want. The best way to make sure there is peace and quiet in the neighborhood and that little Johnny gets his rest is to just close the firehouse. See how quiet QuietDC becomes when you suggest that idea.
Some Columbia Heights residents don’t necessarily want D.C. firefighters to stop doing their jobs – they just want them to cut down on the sirens. They say emergency vehicles are blaring at them louder than ever before and at all hours of the day and night.
The group QuietDC hopes D.C. leaders hear them out and brainstorm a solution.
“There have been some precipitating incidents that have made the noise much more detrimental to their way of life,” says Patrick Flynn, Advisory Neighborhood commissioner.
Flynn says the number of people complaining about a spike in noise has tripled. Many of them are troubled with Monroe Street, which added extra parking spots on January 1.
“It takes a street that is already somewhat narrow and makes it even narrower, so when the fire engines are coming down here they have no place to go.”
Residents say the traffic jam forces first responders on their horns.
“It’s not only that we’re hearing noise but also either somebody is not going to get help fast enough or there’s going to be a major accident,” says Richard Dubeshter.
“For kids especially who are waking up in the middle of the night, crying and screaming, waking up from the noises, it’s something that worried me as a mother and I think other neighbors as well,” says Maryam Ahranjani.
But others say it comes with the territory and think D.C. leaders have bigger problems to solve.
“It’s absolutely insane. It’s ridiculous… you don’t like the noise? Don’t buy a house next to the fire station,” says Fernando Sandoval.
“The reason why it creates noises is because it’s to let people know that a fire engine is coming so it can save someone’s life,” says Sheika Reid, who works in Columbia Heights.
Reid has worked across the street from Engine 11 for 15 years.
“We have soundproof windows. We knew what we were moving into so we deal with that accordingly,” she says.
Concerned Columbia Heights neighbors are holding a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. They’re gathering at the Trolley Turnaround Park at 11th and Monroe. Click here for more information.
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Also on STATter911 …
- Union says DC Fire is rotating closures to save money. Department spokesman says it’s not true. – June 24, 2012
- Two DC firefighters accused by female firefighter of sexual assault. Two supervisors’ actions are part of the investigation. – June 3, 2013
- Water-Gate II, The Sequel: DC firefighters fill another private swimming pool after chief tells CNN it wouldn’t happen again. – July 9, 2012
- Fireground photos: MPD has Engine 18′s line. Might have to wait for water. – September 10, 2012
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