From the mouths of children, sometimes come the most interesting observations.
Kids at Muheim Elementary School asked Interior News columnist Deb Meissner recently if she could get the Town to stop the noon-hour siren.
Their concern was for their new classmates who come from parts of the world where a siren might mean they are about to be bombed.
This is not the first time that concern has come up, though. Council addressed this very issue at a meeting in May of this year when it received a letter from a citizen that the siren was triggering to newly arrived refugees from Ukraine.
Discontinuing the noon siren has been a topic of discussion for years, in fact. At the very least it is annoying, as anyone can attest who has been quietly admiring the goat statue and all of a sudden there is this ear-splitting blast of unnecessary noise.
Whether to continue it or not may be easier to assess if we give it some historical context. The siren has been blasted daily for perhaps as long as 73 years.
The Interior News explained it in 1949.
“The siren had formerly been sounded only on Saturdays, but apparently this is not often enough to ensure that it is in good working order as was shown when it failed to work after a short blast during the Smithers Garage fire.”
That is the same reason still given today, decades after its original purpose — to alert firefighters it is time to suit up — has long been obsolete.
But, supposedly we have to keep testing it daily because it is part of the Town’s emergency warning system. Does anybody know that?
And if the siren were to go off at some other time of day, would anybody even give it a second thought before their smartphone started dinging or someone posted a picture on Facebook of a huge plume of smoke rising over the Smithers railyard?
At this point, we can probably safely say, regardless of the official excuses, that it’s mainly just a tradition whose time has come to quietly settle into the annals of Smithers’ quirky history.