One reason Janet Sanborn Jonas decided to move out of downtown Bangor was because of the emergency sirens.
After living in downtown Bangor for a year, Janet Sanborn Jonas decided to move to a house in the suburbs for two reasons. One of they was the frequent sirens that drove past her apartment. Credit: Kathleen O'Brien / BDN

On Monday Kathleen O’Brien wrote about how the noise from frequent emergency sirens drove one resident to move away from downtown Bangor.

“I never got accustomed to the sirens because they were so piercing and went right by my building,” said Janet Sanborn Jonas, who only lived downtown for one year before moving to the suburbs.

As it happens, Sanborn Jonas’s complaints may have a factual basis: data from the Bangor Fire Department spiked to a record 11,000 calls, more than 2,000 more than the previous year.

Not only that, but because of downtown’s architecture and low background noise can make the screech of passing sirens seem louder.

Sanborn Jonas’s plight struck a chord with readers, who shared their thoughts by commenting and through social media.

“I have lived in more than a few cities, some far larger than Bangor, but Bangor has to be the noisiest of them all,” wrote BDN commenter pizanos.  “Fire engines don’t seem to ever move without sirens, Harley riders are all too happy to bounce their illegal noise off the cities brick buildings and young Earnhardt’s aren’t stopped for their modifies exhausts. They all contribute to a deteriorating environment in town.”

“Bangor, and Orono for that matter, are incredibly noisy places,” wrote BDN commenter Wittenberg. “There doesn’t seem to be any noise that they wont tolerate.”

“What isn’t mentioned is that fire trucks and police often respond when an ambulance is requested by 911 dispatch,” wrote BDN commenter Itrytoremainhumble. “This policy by the city of Bangor results in thousands of more emergency vehicles with sirens traveling our downtown streets day and night every year. Fire trucks alone are up to 11,000 calls a year.


Sending both police and fire trucks to every ambulance call wastes resources, leads to early burn out of our fire fighters and police.”

Responding to Itrytoremainhumble, BDN commenter Jerry_Davis suggested a new approach to limit who responds to emergency calls.

“There is a thing called triage that many larger call centers do that screens calls and sends the appropriate response and they have excellent retrospective reviews This eliminates a significant amount of waste and gets rid of the magnitude of emergency vehicles responding to dumpster fires. New Hampshire is an excellent example of this.”

Countering, the noise complaints, Facebook commenter Joe Galietta wrote: “How does [Sanborn Jonas] think the person in the back of the ambulance felt?”

Meanwhile, Facebook user Amy Bradstreet shared a similar experience to Sanborn Jonas’s.

“We lived on the corner of N. Broadway and Stillwater in between two hospitals, in the early 90s. It was loud, all the time. Probably because we lived on a busy intersection between two hospitals in a city. 😂”