Retrieval of a Federal Thunderbolt nuclear air raid siren.
Civil Defense Nuclear Air Raid Sirens and Volunteer Firefighter all-call sirens
Jacksonville Florida


THE STORY OF THE SIREN:

In the 50's, Duval County Department of Civil Defense started installing nuclear air raid sirens throughout the county to warn citizens of an incoming nuclear strike. "On a hot July day in 1957, a new larger Civil Defense siren was placed in Hemming Park across from the St. James Building in downtown Jacksonville. Sirens were phased out as an emergency warning system in the early 1980's as it became more difficult to cover the whole growing community."

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 For as long as I could remember, there was this siren that sounded each Friday at noon. I never knew what the siren sound was or where it came from but I would always hide when I heard it. It would only sound for one minute, but it seemed like an eternity.

I attended Oak Hill Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida from first grade (August1964) through sixth grade (June 1971). We lived only a few blocks north of the school on Mother Goose Road. During my first week of school in first grade, Mrs. Fairweather explained the purpose of the sound and what we were supposed to do when we heard it.

In February, 2004, some forty years have passed since I first met the siren, I was visiting my parents and went out for a walk in the old neighborhood. I ended up in front of my alma mater on this grey overcast day and stood at the base of the siren looking up. I was admiring the old siren, thinking back how scared I was of it when I heard someone shout, " Hey, are you here to take that down?". It was the head maintenance man for the school. He explained that the principal had called downtown asking for the rusty old siren to be removed because parents were afraid the thing would fall on one of their kids. The power and phone line to the unit had been removed years before. I found out later that the siren was supposed to have been taken down and disposed of many years ago but the company missed this one.

Chip Patterson, then head of the Duval County Emergency Preparedness Division, granted me permission to remove the old siren from the pole. I could get it done quickly, safely, and it would not cost the city any money.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST... LITERALLY!

Click the blast links below to download a wav file of the siren as I test it.

BLAST 01 BLAST 02 BLAST 03
First trial blast (LOUD) Test blast with no blower Last Blast for a while...(Scaredy Cat)
 
I was also given permission to remove the siren below which was used to summon the Volunteer Firefighters at Mandarin Fire Station #42.
P2193063.JPG (46978 bytes) P2193062.JPG (35444 bytes) P3083435.JPG (114037 bytes) P3083436.JPG (103935 bytes)
High atop Fire Station Federal Signal Siren Pretty rusted Yep. Rusty.
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P3083437.JPG (170259 bytes) buddy_siren1.jpg (153103 bytes) P3083440.JPG (66377 bytes) P3083438.JPG (79731 bytes)
Former Siren Mounting It's on the ground!! Trailered up & ready to go On the trailer.
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Three phase 100 amp breaker on left side      
       
       
 
 
Below, Are sirens that have met their demise, ending up in the scrap heap. Sad,,,  really sad.
MVC-002S.JPG (37784 bytes) MVC-003S.JPG (38370 bytes) MVC-004S.JPG (39850 bytes) MVC-006S.JPG (38979 bytes)
MVC-007S.JPG (38166 bytes) MVC-009S.JPG (34726 bytes) MVC-010S.JPG (38060 bytes) MVC-011S.JPG (48925 bytes)
MVC-012S.JPG (38494 bytes) MVC-013S.JPG (38567 bytes) MVC-014S.JPG (40241 bytes) MVC-015S.JPG (37218 bytes)

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