In early April, four Pittsburgh firefighters sued several major fire truck manufacturers, claiming they suffered hearing loss after being repeatedly exposed to the trucks’ loud sirens during their careers. This suit follows one filed last year by 15 Philadelphia firefighters on similar grounds. Some of the manufacturers involved in the suit include Mack Trucks, Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corp., American LaFrance, Pierce Manufacturing and Seagrave Fire Equipment.
The firefighters argue the truck builders were negligent by failing to provide warnings that the sirens’ volumes are “dangerously loud” and for not creating adequate soundproofing or other safety measures to protect them from the noise. They allege repeated exposure to the siren, which can reach up to 110 decibels according to court documents, over 20-30 years caused permanent hearing loss.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), regular exposure to sounds 85 decibels or louder can lead to hearing damage.