When I was a kid in a small town in North Carolina back in the late 50s to the early 60s when the fire whistle you could turn the am radio to the local radio station in town and they would come on and tell where the fire was in town. This was before pagers and alert radios so that the town's volunteers knew where to go. They also told the public the laws about following fire apparatus and running over fire hose.

 Now when I was a member of the fire dept and went to the Maryland State Firemens' Convention in Ocean City,  MD in the early mid 70s the towns fire whistles blew and the local radio station told where the fire was in town and the same laws.

 Anyone else remember their area doing the same type of thing or something different.

 Maybe something their local fire dept did when they were a kid that is interesting.



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I have been told stories about the 50's and 60's where someone's wife would call members on the phone and let them know that there was a fire. My home town had alarm boxs on the street corners and used the Gamewell system up till the 80's or early 90's. Air horns would blow the box number, you then had to look up the number on a card, then you knew what corner to go to. Now it seems like we are going back to phones. When the call is dispatched over the pagers, it seems like everyone has to use their cell phone to make sure that everyone else knows about it or to see if they are on their way.
Where I grew up we didnt have a radio station to tell where the fire was. What we did have was when the fire whistle blew every phone in town rang and that was the dispatching. Wherever you were if there was a phone close you could find out where the fire was. The sheriffs office also got the call so you could ask them if you could reach them on the radio if you didnt get to a phone in time. I can remember times that I would go with my dad and he would be covered in grease from some tractor he was working on and out of nowhere some farm hand would pull up and say "hey rick theres a fire out at the old jones place". He would just jump in the pickup and head to town. There would always be someone there whether it be an adult or just an older kid to pick me up and take me to there house till dad got back. When he got back he would come and get me and we would go back to workin on a tractor. I would try to help and he would drop a wrench that he didnt need so I could look for it and feel like I was really helping. You know just remembering that kinda stuff kinda brings a tear to a guys eye. I havent thought about times like that in a long time.

Thanks Ashfire

I think im gonna call my dad now.
I lived between two towns and both used the outdoor warning siren. Up until recently, the 9pm "curfew" still sounded for ol times sake. Also, before the pagers we would call 328 5323...yep still remember! One of the volly homes would pick up the phone.....and you'd state the need.....the volly and or wife (an probably older child) would stay on the phone and listen for the rest of the vollys to get the address. Experiencing two fires growing up, it worked very well! Both times the department made a great response. In the bigger of the two towns, KOZY would also broadcast that the emergency vehicles were responding and to be on the lookout. They did not give out the address as most of us would have gotten in their way:)

Still miss the 9pm curfew siren....
My single digit years were in the 70's. I, too, still remember the 9:00 curfew horn that came from the town firehouse. When there was a fire, the firehouse horn would sound out a certain code consisting of so many blats, then a pause, then a certain number and so on. Then it would repeat a few times and the firefighters knew where to go from that. I didn't know the codes back then so I had no idea where the fire was unless I saw it.
And faithfully, every night at 9:00, the curfew horn. It was so loud. You could hear it everywhere. That firehouse is now a storage facility for the town crew. A new one was built to replace it.
thanks for bringing back memories.
A fellow FF told me this story once. When he was a kid, whenever he heard the rigs roll, he would start at the firehouse on his bike and follow the trail of splashed water out of the engines. Always led him to the fire. From his age, I'm thinking the 60s.
My fire dept. is close to a large city and more and more people from the city are moving out there to be a close commute . We notice the big city attitude and they don't want to be involved with someone else's problems so vol. fire depts. are out of the qoestion.
Even after we went to pagers and trunked radios we used our house siren because it let wives know we were probably going to be late for what ever. They never failed to find out if it was a long call and would organize sandwhiches,and water or coffee for us.
The city folk termed the siren annoying and disruptive to there lifestyle so it was silenced ,too bad we really miss it.
We still blow the whistle on fires.... but the radio probably doesn't care where the fire is these days LOL
It's really sad that those attitudes still exist. They have only a one sided view with no intention of broadening their field of vision.
There is a community a couple hours away from me that still use the firehouse siren that can be heard all over the community and surrounding area. Their siren is to let the firefighters report ot the hall to respond. I would imagine there are phone calls back and forth, but they still use the siren. I remember hearing it last year, and the fellow I was talking to to said to watch out because there is going to be a mad rush of people responding to the firehall. And there was.
and from 4:30 to 5 productivity goes down the toilet I bet
It still works today. The water splashes out of the vent on our tanker, I still use the trail if I don't make the apparatus.
hahahaha yah actually thats exactly what they did here in small town canada too! wow! and not so long ago either. I think they announced in onthe radio up until the late 90's or something..
We never had too many problems with people following just for a look see. ahh the good ole days.. sorta kinda ! lol

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