Thursday, May 19, 2011

Deeee daaaa, da deee da deeeee

In the early years when we lived here, the volunteer fire department was summoned by a loud, shrill siren mounted on top of the old 3-story building on Main Street that housed the police department and the dispatcher for police, fire, and the ambulance (that was before 911 took over dispatching).

One warm summer afternoon I was driving down Main Street, with the dog hanging out the window, and just as we passed the police department, the siren went off. So, there I was driving down the street with a howling dog. It was hilarious.

By the time our son was old enough to join the fire department and also become a first responder to accidents and medical emergencies, the siren had been replaced with radios and scanners, and we had several scanners that were on at all times, with the volume up if he was home, so if the volunteers were  “toned out,” he would hear it and respond.

The scanner that we had in the living room lost all of it signals 5 years ago when the battery backup went dead after we went on vacation and turned off the electricity to the house for 2 weeks and forgot to take it to a friend’s house so it could be plugged in to keep the memory intact. I never got around to reprogramming it, and think the only traffic we pick up now is the NOAA weather radio report, which is hard-wired into the scanner, and traffic for the electric cooperative, which comes in handy when there is a power failure and we want to know where the crews are in their efforts to get us electrified again.

Our son’s scanner was still plugged in when he left the house for the last time in on Dec 13, and a month or so ago I decided to move it into my office, and I have taken to listening to it during the day. I normally work best without any accompanying noise, but the occasional traffic on the scanner is rather fun to listen to, and also informative.

Throughout the day there will be a variety of calls -- medical emergencies, an occasional fire, or accident. Most of the announcements are from the Highway Patrol headquarters to alert officers to C & I driving and information on license and vehicle registration checks for officers who have stopped people for traffic violations.

What I have learned from these calls is that a significant number of people whose licenses have been suspended or revoked for DUI or “points” or whatever keep right on driving. If the goal is to keep highways safe from irresponsible drivers, it isn’t working.

Calls among the local police officers often involve barking dogs, disturbances at the low-income housing complex, and children playing unattended, shoplifters at the local stores, that sort of thing.

The other morning, however, when I turned the scanner volume up at about 6 am, traffic was flying fast and furious between a number of departments – there had been a multiple shooting just outside of town. A 34-year-old woman had been shot in the back, and two men at the residence had also been shot, but not as seriously as she had. Quite a bit of drama, including the Air Evac helicopter, and to date only sparse details have been printed in the paper about what happened.

This afternoon, things are back to normal.

Attention Troop G Officers: There is a report of goats on the highway…


Tami Weingartner said...

My hubby was making a delivery today & heard a call come over a volunteer firemans portable scanner that was my Grandpas address. Apparently he had fallen and thought that maybe his hip was broken. My hubby called me immediately and I was able to call my family and alert them to the situation. Very handy those scanners.

Cloudia said...

interesting look

Aloha from Waikiki

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