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The debate over daily sirens in Hewitt: Nostalgia, safety, hearing loss


by Trinity Gruenberg

For the last few months the Hewitt City Council has been faced with a difficult decision trying to appease the town’s residents. Should the siren stay off or turn it back on?

Most of the residents were accustomed to the nostalgic sound of the noon and 6 p.m. siren every day, but that changed in August when a petition was brought forth to the city council to turn it off due to the high decibel levels and concerns about hearing damage for those who lived near the siren. The city made the decision to shut the siren off.

Resident Michael Dagen, who lives next to the Hewitt water tower, where the town siren is located, measured the decibel levels in his backyard which were between 105-110 decibels. Sounds over 85 decibels can cause hearing damage. The daily sirens are roughly 40 second bursts, with wind-up and wind-down with approximately 10 seconds at full blast. . . .

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