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Sirene Rumbler: adopted in Quebec, disputed the USA

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The Rumbler siren, which vibrates the motorists using low frequency sounds, making its way into a number of emergency services in the province, and, although elsewhere on the continent, more organizations are seeking pure and simple withdrawal traffic.

The device is now installed on all vehicles supervisors of Montreal Fire Department and he will soon be on all 154 ambulances Urgences-Sante.

The Rumbler is also present on some vehicles the Quebec police, ambulances of the cooperative Ambulance Monteregie, in addition to being a test on trucks of the fire department of Longueuil, The Canadian Press has learned.

The vibrations of the Rumbler, combined with the traditional siren, can be felt up to 61 meters around the emergency vehicle. The very characteristic roar of the siren is audible however much further.

Emergency services justify the installation of the Rumbler siren, the selling price hovers around $ 400 the unit, by the fact that their vehicles have more difficulty getting their way in traffic.

The systems of the hyper-powerful has installed on some cars include finger tips because they prevent some motorists to hear the sirens of emergency vehicles.

"Anyone who listens to the radio with a lot of" thump, thump "when will we hear the same Rumbler.'s Ultra-low frequency of Rumbler neutralizes the low notes of music in the car. Ca shook the car. Normally, the driver looks in the mirror to see what happens and he sees us, "says Michel Robert, chief operations to the Montreal Fire Department.

Several emergency services admit that the Rumbler is more direct than the traditional siren in bubble motorist intrusion. But this is the price to pay to further reduce the risk of accidents, they hammer. "It increases the safety of paramedics and the public", says Benoit Garneau, Head of Division at Urgences-Sante.


Arline Bronzaft, chairwoman of the committee load noise in the Environmental Council of New York, rejected this argument and asks to see evidence of the actual effectiveness of this device. In 2011, it strongly denounced the adoption of the system by the police in New York and soon plans to meet the new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, to convince him to force the withdrawal of Rumbler streets of the Big Apple .

"I want you to provide me the independent scientific evidence that the Rumbler is more effective than conventional sirens. If you use a tool that will have an impact on people, you need to justify it. Nobody has ever been able to get provide this information, "she says. The additional cost that relates to the purchase of these sirens requires that leaders of emergency services are responding to this question, she insists.

Arrested in this regard, several emergency services said the province does not have scientific data in their hands to prove the effectiveness of the Rumbler. "Unfortunately, there are no studies or data about it it," he says Benoit Garneau, Urgences-Sante.

Emergency services responded that the device has been tested before being purchased and its effectiveness is no doubt in the eyes of its users, or paramedics, firefighters and police officers who make use.

Ms. Bronzaft who is a doctoral candidate in environmental psychology, is interested in the effect of noise, particularly new sources of noise on the human body.

"There is no longer any doubt now that the noise has an effect on people's health. This is a matter of public health, as be exposed to noise reduces the quality of life, increases stress and can contribute cardiovascular disease, "says one who is involved in NoiseOff, an online information platform devoted to noise issues.

Ted Rueter, president of Noise Free America, the fight against noise pollution for over a decade. In 2008, the organization was awarded the monthly award for worst noise polluter Rumbler, saying it was "the greatest threat to peace and the tranquility since the invention of cars to its systems hyper-powerful" .

Mr. Rueter, the Rumbler responds to a false problem. "The police say they need because there is too much noise and that motorists do not hear their sirens. If this is the case, let us tackle the problem of noise in our society rather than of add another ", denounced the professor of university of Maryland and the University of New Hampshire.

He says shame that this American tool now crosses the borders of Canada. "Too often, Americans export their evil inventions in Canada. Sirene people who feel this fear in their bodies, so it is quite possible that they move. I think it is a tool that has a large impact on quality of life and health of people, "said Mr. Rueter.

Attractive character

The police department Quebec admits that this new tool adds more noise in the urban sound environment. "It is true that the noise level will increase with this kind of system, but we must understand that this is a specific place for a short period of time. This system is not based on total travel time "insisted Nancy Roussel.

Some emergency services have decided to frame the way very severe use Rumbler. This is the case of the Montreal Fire Department, which allows its use in certain circumstances, especially when a vehicle refuses to give way.

Other organizations, however, leave the "good judgment" drivers of emergency vehicles the freedom to use the device as they see fit. In order to avoid the excess, the manufacturer limit of 10 seconds each use Rumbler. The device may be reset against as many times as desired.

Despite the criticism, the Rumbler is appealing for several emergency services character. The Surete du Quebec, which has a fleet of 2,000 vehicles, do not rule out the idea of ​​adopting too. "We evaluate its operation and its impacts in the context of its use as a complementary facility to current tools", said Richard Benoit, spokesman for the police.

After having first agreed to answer questions from The Canadian Press, the company that designed the Rumbler, Federal Signal, no longer responds to our requests for interviews. It was impossible to know if the company has studied the effectiveness and potential impact of the product.

Etienne Fortin-Gauthier

Sirene Rumbler: adopted in Quebec, disputed the USA picture #5

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