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Fire Engines Photos

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Classic line-up at Rhyl. July 1988
Fire Engine Photos
No: 22569   Contributor: Andrew Middleton   Year: 1988   Manufacturers: Dennis, Dodge, ERF   Country: United Kingdom
Classic line-up at Rhyl. July 1988

Three old girls lined up together for the last time. Taken two weeks after Denbigh recieved their new Volvo FL6.18/Fulton+Wylie WrL E499UTJ, ERF 84RF/ERF Firefighter was in the spare bay. Took the opportunity to capture the glory day's at Rhyl. Alongside HEY246N were Dennis RS133/Dennis WrL RDM360V and Renault-Dodge G13c/Fulton+Wylie WrL B37 OJC.

One Rolls-Royce engine and two Perkins V8 engines made it a joy to be photographing and listening to them. Had all three bells going on request after this shot was taken.

Sic transit gloria mundai.
Picture added on 11 March 2010 at 22:48
add commentComments:
Nice photo Andy, I must say it seems unusual for later appliances still being fitted with bells. The ERF I can understand, but certainly the other two seems strange. I take it they must have used them even back in the late eighties.

Added by Dave Lewis on 12 March 2010.
Chris Hall will know more, but Cleveland used to fit bells to their appliances in the not so distant past, the reasoning being it was less intrusive in rural villages than two-tone air horns - perhaps the same applied in Rhyl?

Added by Pete Gardner on 13 March 2010.
The bells were still used by old timers riding shot gun on appliances. The final appliance to arrive with a bell fitted was Renault-Dodge g13/F+W WrL C256SJC which was allocated to Corwen.

Added by Andy Middleton on 13 March 2010.
Staffordshire were fitting their new purchases with electronic wail/yelp sirens back in 1983, so it is a little surprising to see fire engines of the 'modern' era fitted with bells.

As far as electronic sirens are concerned, can any other brigade beat 1983?

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 13 March 2010.
Many fire engines here in the states have big chrome-plated brass bells, even larger than those on the Denbigh units in this photo. They're usually mounted on the front fender or bumper, and clanged by hand, using a rope going back to the passenger seat. That said, I don't think I've heard a bell actually being clanged in msny years. Mostly it's a "growler" and/or electronic siren and/or air horns. So the bells are mostly symbolic/nostalgic, or maybe for parade use.

Added by Michael Feldman on 14 March 2010.
Yelp Bullhorn, Teesside Airport FS had a forward control Land Rover Rescue Tender in 1979 which was factory fitted electronic wail/yelp siren. The first that I came across in the UK. The appliance was later converted into an ambulance a photo can be seen (865) on this ambulance section of this website.

Added by Barrie Green on 14 March 2010.
Lovely photo Andy of the old Clwyd. I know I am pedantic but E499UTJ at Denbigh was a 16 ton(FL6:16) same as 1st built Volvo D999TFY. Denbigh's was used it Fulton&Wylie brochures a lot originally(I got 2 here). E799VWM at E4 Chirk was Clwyds first FL6:14 and is at present running as Wrexhams 3rd away(14.3.10). I will put photo of her up this week.

Added by Gary Simpson on 14 March 2010.
I have a video of a Clwyd Dodge pump at Wrexham using its bell in anger, that was back in 1999 I think.

Added by Andy Daley on 14 March 2010.
Yes Gary. FL6.18 were TL/HP chassis.

Added by Andy Middleton on 14 March 2010.
That's interesting, Barrie, but I was referring to Local Authority which is my particular interest.

Even today I don't think Merseyside have electronic. They still very much favour two-tone air.

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 15 March 2010.
Actually, Merseyside appliances from 54'reg onwards are fitted with both electronic wailers and two-tone air horns, it is down to the discretion of the driver/OIC as to what they use. Interestingly though, the latest batch of pumps are fitted with high-pitched two tones which sound very nice!

Added by Andy Daley on 15 March 2010.
I read recently about a new regulation in the Netherlands that requires new emergency vehicles to have 2-tone horns, and allows a certain period (5 years?) to convert old ones. Either air or electronic is OK, but the reg actually specifies the precise frequencies of the high and low tones. I'm wondering what the firefighters in this group think about the pro's and con's of such uniformity.

Added by Michael Feldman on 15 March 2010.
When I was stationed in Japan, many years ago, the appliances over there were fitted with air sirens and electronic bells. They used the "bells" when still responding, but at a less urgent pace. They would be 3 notes, pause, 3 notes, etc. Pleasant to hear, but still alerted bystanders to clear the way.

Added by David L on 15 March 2010.
Liverpool Fire Brigade had an ET at 'the Gardens' had a 4 tone air horn system, this was in the 1960/70s very musical it was too.
Stockport Fire Brigade tried two tone bells whilst others (including Burnley FB ) fitted amplifiers onto the bells.
There has been much discussion on another fire site about the 'noise' and who should operate seems to be now definitely down to the driver and nothing to to do with the oic. Brigades are disabling siren switches on the left side of the cab. Should there be an accident all driving activities (including use of sirens) is down to the driver.

Added by Barrie Green on 15 March 2010.
Uttoxeter fire station in Staffordshire recieved their first hand-down Dennis RS in 1990. After a few months, workshops disconnected the electronic siren leaving just the two-tone air. And the reason? Well every time they used it out in the sticks, it would send cattle loopy and they would stampede across the fields!

A few years later it was re-installed. I guess the mad cows must have eventually become accustomed to the strange noise which now emanates from every Staffs emergency vehicle.

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 16 March 2010.
Anyone know why the Somerset driver involved in the cow stampede is being prosecuted for doing his job?

Added by Andy Middleton on 16 March 2010.
As I understand it, he turned the sirens off on approach, then turned them back on in frustration when he was "in the middle" of the cows.

Added by Pete Gardner on 17 March 2010.
Over here in the US, out in the rural areas of Georia, chickens are raised in 600' (185m) long hen houses. Driving by some, I have seen signs prohibiting sirens/airhorns. I was told by one farmer he lost several hundred chickens after an appliance came by with its siren on. The chickens stampeded to the side away from the siren, crushing many of them. I don't if the county ever compensated for his loss.

Added by David L on 17 March 2010.
I love this sight! I love the diversity of the conversations held on here too. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd read about a Chicken stampede!!!

Please don't think I am trying to detract from the serious nature of that comment and the subsequent demise of those startled foul, but it did make me smile somewhat. Sorry . . .

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 18 March 2010.
Did B37 OJC run from Johnstown?

Added by D jones on 21 April 2010.
No. B36 OJC ran from Johnstown after Wrexham. B37 ran from Rhyl and then Cerrigydrudion.

Added by Andrew Middleton on 05 May 2010.
Does anyone know if a Clwyd Dodge survived? C256SJC was rolled and sat at Engine Transplants, Crewe for a while but what of B36/7OJC. We used LJC489R Dennis R type as a reserve in Mold, Clwyd and I remember our LF using the 2 tones AND bell together whilst on a redirection call after a RTA to alarms operating at the County offices.

Added by Gary Simpson on 16 October 2010.
In Germany, all emergency vehicles have a standard set of muti-tone "Martishorns". The tones have been standardized for decades, and it seems to make sense. The public have grown up recognizing the sound, and it does not matter if it is the police, an ambulance, or a fire truck - much less whose fire truck! The same is true for all branches of the emergency services in Italy, France and many other mainland European countries.

Perhaps even the chickens are used to them by now...

Added by Rob Johnson on 16 July 2013.
I have not visited Germany for a few years but the fire appliances were fitted with two separate horn systems...the main ones having two sets oF two trumpet air horns, each pair operating one note each ! The second system was the 'Marchal' type electronic horns which were only used at nighttime . The two tones and the blues were linked to a separate trace on the vehicles tachograph which was used to prove that they were operating in the event of an accident....only when operating could the legal exemptions and 'right of way' be claimed by the appliance driver. The practice was to switch the 'noise'on when leaving the fire station and only to switch them off when arriving on scene, unlike the 'intermittent ' way we do things in the UK.

Added by Barrie Green on 17 July 2013.
They do seem to think of everything!

Added by Rob Johnson on 17 July 2013.
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