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Pat Shingleton: "Sirens and Gramps..."

3 years 7 months 1 week ago Saturday, May 02 2020 May 2, 2020 May 02, 2020 7:00 AM May 02, 2020 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

Years ago, traveling over Government Street to Independence Park offered a glimpse of a siren atop a telephone pole within a wooded area. That area has now been converted into a residential development. This particular siren was installed during the Cold War to alert residents of an attack. It was later modified for weather purposes and impending storms. In April, 2011, sirens failed in Madison, WI, during an outbreak of intense tornadoes. The obvious replacement for sirens are cell phones and even though sirens enhance a multiple warning system, wireless emergency alerts immediately announce “Lightning has been detected in your area, please find shelter.” Alerts now transmit three types of warnings: Life threatening storms, Presidential Alerts and Amber Alerts. Many emergency management directors believe sirens are valuable despite their aged methodology including the inability of hearing them indoors and past examples of storm-related failures. In our old stomping grounds, The Frisco Fire Station daily activated their siren at 1:00 PM each day. Our grandfather, Bert Price, lived with us in the same house that his children were born. A retired “railroader” at US Steel, he chewed Mailpouch tobacco, gardened, and read two newspapers every day, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Ellwood City Ledger. He watched only two television shows: Lawrence Welk and Studio Wrestling. He never had a driver’s license but would sit on the front steps watching the cars – waving at them when they honked. He also enjoyed witnessing farm machinery from Ira Brown and Sam Biggins' farms to the Canfield, Ohio fair. No matter what the season in western Pennsylvania, he wore the same clothes: long johns, coveralls, flannel shirt with suspenders, boots, work gloves and his railroad hat. Recent thundershowers reminded me of Gramps when we would sit on the back porch glider during a thunderstorm.  Not saying anything, just sitting, gliding and watching. Great memories…

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