Fire and Emergency NZ's Muriwhenua area manager Wipari Henwood has defended the continued use of Kerikeri's fire siren against objections from a resident, but is taking his complaint seriously.
David Stringer, who has criticised the siren as World War II technology that should have been superseded long ago, has been campaigning to have it silenced, but a spate of callouts in recent weeks had been the final straw.
"I've lived in Kerikeri and put up with the noise for 23 years, but now I've had a gutsful," he said, claiming that it stopped people working, interrupted church services and sent old ladies running away with their hands over their ears.
It also aggravated his severe tinnitus.
"I fully support the fire brigade, but not when they use that alarm," Mr Stringer said.
"This is 2020. We have new technology that's 100 per cent reliable and we have two cellphone networks, both of which have backups, so why are they still using this World War II technology in an urban centre?"
Mr Henwood conceded that the siren was loud, but it had to be heard by volunteers right across the CBD. The brigade was taking the complaint seriously, however, and met on Monday evening to discuss it. He was considering having the volume measured, and a member of the public had offered to carry out a survey of residents and nearby businesses.
The brigade also used pagers and cellphones to alert the volunteers, but the siren was more effective, especially during the day, he added. The deputy CFO, for example, worked in an engineering workshop where he couldn't have his phone and pager on him at all times, and even if he did he wouldn't always hear them over the workshop noise.
He could, however, hear the siren, and if he didn't his workmates alerted him. The siren was not used at night.
"I don't know if the alternatives are as effective but we will consider them. We are trying to find middle ground," Mr Henwood said.
Mr Stringer has also complained to the Far North District Council, which, having received only one complaint, has declined to investigate.