New York’s Bravest can take the heat, but some can’t stand the noise.
Nearly 1,500 FDNY firefighters and retirees joined with other smoke-eaters to file a mass lawsuit claiming years of exposure to loud sirens are making them deaf. The 4,000 plaintiffs contend Illinois-based siren manufacturer Federal Signal Corp. failed to install “diverters” or “shrouds” that would have redirected the 120-decibel wails — about equal to sitting in the first row of a Led Zeppelin concert, experts say. “We were doing 6,000 runs per year,” said retired firefighter Glen Tracy, 58, who spent 31 years with Engine Co. 216 and Ladder 108 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I can’t hear. I need hearing aids. Someone has to pay.
“My children would speak to me and I’d say, ‘What? What? What?” he said.
Cops have not signed onto the lawsuits, although medics have. And municipalities that purchased the sirens are not being targeted.
“This is a strict product-liabilities case,” said Edward Marcowitz, managing partner of Manhattan law firm Bern Ripka, who claims that Federal Signal Corp. “knew it was too loud.”
One court watchdog made it loud and clear what he thinks of the suit.
“It’s a preposterous cash-grab,” said Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. “First of all, what’s their solution? If you don’t have sirens, people would get mowed down in the streets.The siren works exactly the way it should, and they’re suing them for that.