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Old 27.09.2006, 23:34
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Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Hi,
We have a 1 year old daughter. Her being quite hyper-active and also being as sensitive to noise as any normal person like you and me makes her a very light sleeper . We take between 30 to 60 minutes to soothe her to sleep. It all comes to a big nought when public utility vehicles go blaring with their sirens at full blast irrespective of the condition of the traffic on the street or the time of the day or night . It does not matter if the traffic is very thin to non-existent at the time they pass but they insist on making a statement and their presence fully felt to the neighbourhood. Ironically, the worst offenders are the ambulances who pass about 2-3 times along the main street in our neighbourhood(we live in a residential area and not close to any hospital at all). These ambulances raise my stress level when the baby wakes up hollering due to the sudden penetrating noise that I want to stop the ambulance and jump in and get myself admitted at the hospital . I fail to understand that despite all the technological marvels and the sensitivity of the western world to all kinds of environmental problems(including noise) there are no rules to curtail or contain this problem. To add to the irony you hear about swiss neighbours complain and enforce strict rules on relative whispering sounds coming from 2 floors above or below their apartment due to footsteps, normal conversations, laughing or toilet flushes etc. They cannot tolerate 20dB but are ok with 100dB all 7 days of the week !
Question is:-
Can we raise this issue with any authority to find out what rules of self-discipline the public services are expected to abide by?
I do think that it would make a great business sense to patent 2 technologies :-
1. Equip all these special vehicles with a transmitter(radio, microwave, GPS or even a simple mobile signal) that indicates and alerts all neighbouring vehicles within a radius of 50m about their presence. Ofcourse, all new vehicles should also be equipped with an equivalent receiver that alerts only the driver and not the whole world outside. This could be received as an audible, visual or tactile alert by the receiver.
2. Special sirens that can be controlled to orient sound in a certain specified direction(completely horizontal and only towards the front direction that they face or drive) to notify other pedestrians and cyclists ahead. We can do this with light(laser) but apparently not with sound
3. Fallback on the current primitive technology when the first two fail or are not appropriate for the specific circumstance

Well, generally it seems that we have been able to understand, control and harness light(due to its particle nature?) much better than we have been able to do the same with sound(due to its wave nature?)
Anybody going crazy with the same problem or any other geeks in the forum?
For the time being, we are now thinking about pulling down the shutters each night which should help a bit and also that it is almost winter.

Regards
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Old 27.09.2006, 23:43
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

With all due respect, don't they have ambulances where you come from?

If the ambulance was coming to save your daughter (or take her to the hospital), I don't think you'd care if another kid was woken up enroute.
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Old 28.09.2006, 00:20
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

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With all due respect, don't they have ambulances where you come from?

If the ambulance was coming to save your daughter (or take her to the hospital), I don't think you'd care if another kid was woken up enroute.
Hi Evilshell,
You are missing the point..
I do know the importance and criticality of ambulances and all emergency services in general.
You would understand if you had children who are woken up by the constant noise of ambulances every night. My point is just that it is unnecessary for them to sound the siren if there is no reason to do so. It should only be used when their way is blocked during emergencies. What if they are just using them to get free passage approaching the traffic signals(I have seen this kind of misuse)? A few months ago my friend was fined for braking the red-lights at 5am in the morning while he was driving his wife who was in labor to the hospital..it seems that this wrong but public vehicles not respecting the lights(when they can) is correct.
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Old 28.09.2006, 06:58
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

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Hi Evilshell,
You are missing the point..
I do know the importance and criticality of ambulances and all emergency services in general.
You would understand if you had children who are woken up by the constant noise of ambulances every night. My point is just that it is unnecessary for them to sound the siren if there is no reason to do so. It should only be used when their way is blocked during emergencies. What if they are just using them to get free passage approaching the traffic signals(I have seen this kind of misuse)? A few months ago my friend was fined for braking the red-lights at 5am in the morning while he was driving his wife who was in labor to the hospital..it seems that this wrong but public vehicles not respecting the lights(when they can) is correct.
Oh, I understood completely. You wanted the entire system to change because of your child.

You don't know if there is an emergency going on in the ambulance requiring them to go through the intersection.

And, yes, a member of the public blowing red lights is dangerous. They don't have a siren to alert the other drivers (and the legal requirement to make them stop). He could have been hit by another car (even at 5am) and injured all of them in the car. If her labor was coming on so fast that he couldn't sit at a red light, they should have called an ambulance instead of driving in themselves.

Perhaps you should consider moving to a neighborhood that doesn't get as much ambulance traffic?
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Old 28.09.2006, 08:16
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

I long ago concluded that Swiss emergency vehicles are obliged to have their horns on all the time day and night, regardless of traffic or any other conditions.

Like churches with bells which ring every quarter of an hour to remind you life is ebbing away, the hospitals, fire and police stations are not about to move to avoid disturbing anyone's daughter - or anyone else.

Solutions:

1) write to the authorities. (Don't expect much)
2) stick your fingers theatrically in your ear whenever you see one approaching and so let them know your opinion
3) before signing accommodation contracts ensure the whereabouts of all hospitals etc and routes taken by emergency vehicles - keep an eye out for churches too.
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Old 28.09.2006, 08:41
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Get over it. Think yourself lucky that you are on the main route should you have a problem in your family.
dave

Quote:
These ambulances raise my stress level when the baby wakes up hollering due to the sudden penetrating noise that I want to stop the ambulance and jump in and get myself admitted at the hospital .
Regards
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Old 28.09.2006, 08:42
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Quote:
Hi Evilshell,
You are missing the point..
I do know the importance and criticality of ambulances and all emergency services in general.
You would understand if you had children who are woken up by the constant noise of ambulances every night. My point is just that it is unnecessary for them to sound the siren if there is no reason to do so. It should only be used when their way is blocked during emergencies. What if they are just using them to get free passage approaching the traffic signals(I have seen this kind of misuse)? A few months ago my friend was fined for braking the red-lights at 5am in the morning while he was driving his wife who was in labor to the hospital..it seems that this wrong but public vehicles not respecting the lights(when they can) is correct.
Hi,
I have used the ambulance to send my child with 40degrees fever to the hospital earlier this year in Spring. I know what it means to give way to an ambulance.

Although some people will think ambulances "abuse" the sirens but I do not share this view. How do these people judge if the sirens are needed on which part of the intersections or roads? How do they know? How do the drivers know?

Sounding the siren all the time, gives the motorists enough time to react, and go to the side.

I am sure Meenakshi is not serious about this complaint. Unless he wants to live in a society where ambulances are not allowed to sound their sirens, and that he has signed a legal document saying that he is agreeable that an ambulance can take its time to reach his family who may need it the most.
Perhaps the helicopter ambulance is banned from his resident area too?

Sorry, we cannot have it both ways.

HAT
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Old 28.09.2006, 09:56
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

your best ideas are shutters - and to move home.
For what it's worth, I know some places that are monumentally quiet - just not anywhere near here!
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Old 28.09.2006, 10:01
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

...or near a hospital I'll warrant.

dave


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I know some places that are monumentally quiet - just not anywhere near here!
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Old 28.09.2006, 10:14
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Dont live by a Church!


Sauron
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Old 28.09.2006, 10:18
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

At least that will be convenient for when the ambulance doesn't arrive in time....

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Old 28.09.2006, 10:28
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Fire and Ambalance risk there lives driving full speed to get to people in need, and people moan about it!

Just like the prats that never pull over when one comes up behind them when they are driving thier cars!

Umm sounds like a swiss person moaning that you are making a noise between 12:00 and 15:00 which by the way is not alound in switzerland, you can complain!


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Old 28.09.2006, 11:24
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Meenakshi - I was wondering in which city you live. Your location simply states "Switzerland" and you haven't given any clue as to where you live. In Switzerland, this can make a difference sometimes as different cities and towns have different regulations, and different political climates. People may be able to give you better advice if you clue them in a little. That is - if you were asking for help (which I think you were).

If, for example you live in Zurich, I know that they are (or were) having a bit campaign about noise recently. I know that they have an information point for people who are distressed about noise, and can advise you better. If you don't live in Zurich, then I don't know, but someone else might have information relevant for where you live.
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Old 28.09.2006, 19:14
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

As a parent I can sympathise from the standpoint of how frustrating it can be, having spent what feels like ages to get your child to sleep, only to have them woken up by something. For us it is the phone.

But that being said, as a parent, I also don't want a child that has to have completely optimal circumstances in order to sleep. We were advised after bringing our daughter home from the hospital (where she had spent 23 days in the neonatal ICU) not to tiptoe around when she was sleeping as it will only mean that she is that much more disturbed by noises. I have noticed for example, when we first moved into this house, the downstairs toilet flushing might cause her to stir, but now it is "background noise" and seems to have no impact on her sleeping. My ex roomed with a friend in college who had to have total darkness in order to sleep - towel stuffed under the door, not a sliver of light. And he had to use ear plugs. I decided that, as much as possible (given that everyone is different, and some people are instinctively lighter sleepers than others), I did not want to create a climate that would encourage my daughter to need complete silence or darkness in order to sleep.

Do you live down the road from an ambulance dispatch site or a hospital? Personally if I were in this situation and found this an ongoing issue, I would look for a different place to live, away from the path of the most frequent occurrences of the sirens. Sirens are there for a reason and I think that you may find it quite frustrating to try to fight this particular battle. Perhaps researching a location that might take you away from their path on such a frequent basis might be the best for you and your family long term.
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Old 29.09.2006, 01:01
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

As a person that lives on a main road between a motorway and a hospital, I can (sort of) sympathise with Meenakshi. There are certainly some times of day when the level of traffic doesn't require a siren that can be heard for many minutes as it aproaches and then finally goes past. It is something that I've mentioned before in passing to friends. But I have noticed more recently that they are generally making an effort and I now more frequently notice the flashing lights go past without hearing a thing. Obviously, as with most things, some drivers seem to be more careful than others but I generally do see an improvement here.
As a parent with a young child I think that Music Mole also has a good point. Kids need to get accustomed to their environment and the whole world won't be quiet just because your kid is trying to get to sleep. That's just something you're gonna have to get used to my friend.
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Old 29.09.2006, 01:13
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Don't forget also that ambulance drivers are always risking their lives for others, all the time, anytime. There are several cases in Western Europe over the last few years where ambulance drivers lost their lives due to collisions with other vehicles, including full frontal collisions with other ambulances.

I think that like the other posters, if she does not grow out of getting disturbed by it soon, moving may be your best bet.

Also, do you always put her to bed at the same time? Apparently children are less hyperactive and sleep better if their schedule is regular as clockwork......a very tough thing to achieve these days
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Old 29.09.2006, 14:41
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

I'm unable to resist the temptation to point out that you're actually suggesting fitting all cars with special transmitters, at what would be a cost of tens of millions of Sfr., so your daughter doesn't get woken up at night, not to mention putting emergency workers and injured/sick people in greater danger of dying for the very same reason.

The people who don't tolerate "noisy" neighbors probably tolerate ambulances because they realize a life is being saved, and until now, I never thought I'd hear someone argue otherwise.

This is commonplace in every large city. More people mean more ambulances, fires, and other things requiring loud sirens ands sirens are needed on low traffic streets almost as much as anywhere else, as ambulances generally go very fast, and drivers on perpendicular streets need to hear them as well. And yes, emergency workers risk their lives to help people who need it, and they should be afforded the extra measure of security provided by a siren, despite waking up your daughter.

Perhaps get your child to go to sleep with some light music on? You presumably live in a city. Cities are loud.
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Old 29.09.2006, 15:06
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

I would have to say, no, emergency vehicle noise does not make me sick. It wakes me up everynow and again, but it is a small price to pay to know that people are getting the urgent assistance they need.

In reference to the original post, I am truly sorry that your daughter suffers from such great sensitivity to loud noises. I realise that environmental factors in a modern society will not make life for you easy.

However, the suggestions in the first post leave me well and truly astounded. They represent a "Me,Me,Me" approach which is typical of our ever-increasingly litigious society that seems to think someone has to be responsible for what is simply misfortune (being in this case your daughters condition).

The first point would probably fail anyway, because every second driver is listening to his/her stereo at a level he/she can't even here a siren at 10 metres, let alone the alarm going off from a GPS device.

On point 2, other than the natural benefits of the doppler effect, you aren't going to change the laws of physics. Sound, although louder in the direction of projection, will radiate and bounce off objects and there ain't much we can do about it.

If you live in a "high noise" area, and it bothers you, then simply move away to somewhere quiet. Or add sound-proofing to your house/apartment. That way your family, as well as that selfish vast majority, can all benefit.
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Last edited by litespeed; 29.09.2006 at 18:28.
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Old 29.09.2006, 15:49
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

Au contraire. Soundproofing is the obvious one in the bedroom. More interesting would be an antinoise generator. After all the drivers have them:
http://doctord.dyndns.org:8000/Pubs/INCE.htm


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Quote:
Sound, although louder in the direction of projection, will radiate and bounce off objects and there ain't much we can do about it.
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Old 29.09.2006, 15:57
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Re: Does noise pollution from AMBULANCES make you sick?

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Soundproofing is the obvious one in the bedroom. More interesting would be an antinoise generator.
dave
Not sure where you could find it, but there is a foam that is used in music recording situations to prevent outside noise from entering a room. In the US you can order it, sold in large "sheets" (eg. 6 ft x 6ft), from catalogs that cater to music enthusiasts. If one were intent on soundproofing a room, that would be an option, provided a retailer could be found in the area of the person interested. Just a thought . . .
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