Fire department shakes drivers to attention

A P.E.I. fire department has installed low-frequency sirens that will literally shake up drivers in order to get their attention.
With a new siren North River firefighters can more easily get the attention of drivers. (Linda Ward/CBC)

A  fire department  in P.E.I.has installed low-frequency sirens that will literally shake up drivers to grab their attention.

"It's hard to believe, coming up behind someone in the big red trucks, with the lights and sirens going, you would think everybody would see you but they don't," said North River Fire Chief Kirby Wakelin.

Wakelin hopes he has a solution for inattentive drivers. His department is the first in the province to install rumblers on a fire truck. The woofers emit a low-frequency siren sound that drivers can actually feel in their chest.

"So if you're driving along in your vehicle with your windows up and your air conditioning on and your music going or you're talking to people within your car and we come up behind you, you'll feel it. You'll feel a rumble"

Wakelin has seen the woofers in action in Nova Scotia, and watched them clear traffic.

"One of the departments was coming out onto the street, which was quite busy, and they had their sirens and lights on and just nobody seemed to be getting out of the way," he said.

"They hit this and it just seemed like the Red Seas parting."

The North River Fire Department will use its new rumbler at all intersections and when people aren't paying attention.

"Right now, all we have is the air horn in the truck, and it's so loud and sharp it really scares people."

With the cost of the rumblers just $700, and a simple installation, North River will not likely be the last Island fire station to install them.