This Day In Norwood History-November 9


Big Improvement On Fire Whistles
Tests Conducted By General Manager Today

Norwood’s new air raid sirens were given their official testing between 10 o’clock this morning and 12 o’clock noon, and early reports indicate that the new signaling device is a huge improvement on the old fire whistle system that proved so unsatisfactory to Norwood residents whose homes were on the outskirts of the town.

General Manager Francis W. Smith and civilian defense heads are reserving their unqualified approbation until all returns are in from spotters placed all over the town, but it was evident to reporters that they were greatly pleased with early reports.

Citizens received the test with more than usual interest, especially residents of the western section of the town in the Winter street. Prospect street area, whence most of the complaints originated during the sprightly short term air raid tests of some months ago. The fire whistles could not be heard plainly in that district, and often they couldn’t be heard at all.


During daylight air raids the fire whistle’s efficiency couldn’t he tested any too well. But after dark was something else again. Alert air raid wardens in the Winter street, Lincoln street, Prospect street, and the tree-named streets opposite the cemetery and up Bellevue avenue had to hustle around on doors for “lights out in there”.

How the air raid wardens knew about the air raid lest was no mystery. In those early days wardens and auxiliaries wore told in advance the time. Even if they didn’t hear the whistles they could move into their posts by the clock. But when the sneak raids wore pulled, defenders had no better cars than civilians.

The sirens were sounded from a control located in the report center at the Municipal building. Two sirens stand atop the fire station and two are a fixed to poles at the Walpole, Chapel street intersection.

One set was tested a few weeks ago. They were sunk in a barrel in the middle of the tightly closed light department and given a sound off. From the corner of Nahatan and Central street they
could he heard distinctly, but not loudly. They sounded like an ambulance a good way off.

The two hour test was of sufficient length, General Manager Smith said, to make fairly certain the sirens can be heard in every section of the town, and further, that the equipment is what it should be and acts as it is intended. The sounding is only one part of the test. The efficiency of the operation from the signal in the report center to the citizen’s ear drums will have to work satisfactorily.

When full reports are in, those points will be settled.

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