Fire alarm boxes “thing of the past” in Pennsylvania community

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

CRESSONA, Pa.—This borough is eliminating its fire alarm striking boxes along Cressona streets, according to the Republican Herald news publication.

The Borough Council on June 2 voted to do away the boxes, the Republican Herald said in a July 10 report.

"It's a thing of the past," James Krammes Jr., assistant fire chief for the borough, was quoted as saying of the system.

According to borough records, the system consists of 24 fire alarm boxes and six push button boxes. A siren at the borough building sounds when one of the boxes is pulled, the news article said. But the article said the system has been out of service for as long as 1.5 years.

Council President James Johns said the 12-volt system is not wired into the Schuylkill County Communications Center and frequently faced technical problems, according to the report. The boxes will be donated to the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society, the article said.

But in another Pennsylvania community, fire alarm boxes survive. Pottsville city Fire Chief Todd March told the Republican Herald the city has 98 fire boxes owned and maintained by the city.

Those boxes, which are about 60-70 years old, are wired into the Schuylkill County Communications Center system, but do periodically require maintenance, costing the city about $2,500 per year, the article said.

Cellphones have largely obviated the need for fire alarm boxes, but March said the system serves as a backup.