Former firefighter sues fire truck manufacturers for hearing loss

From the New York Post:

A former FDNY firefighter is suing several fire truck manufacturers for $150,000, claiming he’s suffered permanent, “irreversible” hearing loss because the sirens in the engines he rode were too loud.

Curtis O’Steen, who served from 1966 to 1981, said the companies sold trucks and engines that were in “defective condition” and didn’t protect firefighters from the shrill sirens.

“The crew compartments of the vehicles lacked sufficient sound insulation or other noise dampening measures that would lower the intense noise,” according to the recently filed Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

O’Steen, who lives three hours north of New York City in Delaware County, is also suing company Federal Signal whose “Q-Siren” and “e-Q2B” sirens were used on the fire trucks.

UPDATED at 3:45 p.m. MST, March 3, 2015:

After having to remove two comments that violated our guidelines for comments, I feel compelled to add to this post.

I have no idea if the firefighter suffered a degradation in his hearing caused by sirens. Anyone can sue almost anyone for almost anything. And if they choose to use the court system, it does not mean they will win their suit.

However, it is a fact that some sirens produce noise levels that exceed the limits issued by OSHA and the NFPA. Examples of similar issues about sirens are here, here, and here.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Former firefighter sues fire truck manufacturers for hearing loss”

  1. Records lost or buried under a pile of bureaucracy? Yes everyone has the right to sue in our society. I think I know that…..As far as the merits of suing goes, unfortunately, it seems the politicians are trying to decide for us all on that subject by trying to reform the Tort Laws. In many cases I think we as individuals have to take responsibility for our own health and protect ourselves.

  2. Roof mounted sirens on police vehicles were moved to the front grill a number of years ago because of inside the vehicle noise volumes. There are also a multitude of other ways to damage hearing, power tools. outboard motors, aircraft engines, machinery, firearms just to name a few.

    The National Park Service had a hearing conservation program a few years ago with medical exams and annual hearing test to document noise impacts. I had been going for several years then it was suddenly ended due to funding issues? I attempted to get the results from my tests and was told the records were unavailable…

  3. Everyone has a right to sue. There are also statutes of limitation that curtail suits that aren’t filed in a timely matter. The Court ultimately decides merit, not us on the sidelines.


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