Friday, February 11, 2011
Concerns Over New NYPD Sirens
A man with Multiple Sclerosis is concerned that new siren systems in NYPD police vehicles will cause him and others to collapse because of involuntary muscle contractions.
The New York Police Department plans to equip all of its new police vehicles with a siren system called the Rumbler. Federal Signal Corp. makes the devices. The company says the system provides penetrating/vibrating low frequency sound waves that allow vehicle operators and nearby pedestrians to feel the sound. The company says the Rumbler is highly effective in dense urban environments with heavy vehicle traffic.
The NYPD's director of Fleet Service, Robert Martinez, told the Wall Street Journal that about 500 cars will be equipped with the new system by summer. Eventually, 5,000 NYPD vehicles will have Rumblers.
The agency buys about 1,300 new cars a year. Police began using the system in a pilot program in 2009. Currently, about 150 cars have it.
Not everyone is happy about the new vibration emitting sirens.
Jason Parente contracted Fox 5 News after hearing the news. Parente has Multiple Sclerosis and is worried that he could lose control of his body if he is out on the street when a siren is sounded.
"I can tell you that vibrations/percussions generated by those NYPD sirens could affect some patients with MS like myself and result in pain and loss of muscle coordination which will result in us falling due to the spasms," Parente said.
He thinks the sirens will cause physical pain by aggravating medical conditions by triggering involuntary muscle contractions.
He says it could be similar to being hit with a taser gun.
Parente said, "I have had similar expediences with sound percussion generating objects and environments (ie the bass at a rock concert). I can avoid those objects and environmens if they are stationary but you can't avoid something like it if its on a vehicle."