New Jersey Firefighters Suing Fire Truck Manufacturers for Hearing Loss

More than two dozen New Jersey firefighters are suing five fire truck manufacturers and a siren maker alleging the noise from the emergency vehicles’ sirens have lead to an “irreversible” loss of hearing.

The lawsuit was removed from state Superior Court and filed in federal court in Newark on Dec. 4 on behalf of 34 current or former firefighters in Elizabeth, Linden, Bayonne, Union, Ridgewood, Kearny, Cranford and West New York. The suit names American LaFrance LLC, Kovatch Mobile Equipments Corp., Mack Trucks Inc., Pierce Manufacturing Inc. and Seagrave Fire Apparatus LLC, as well as the siren maker Federal Signal Corp.

The lawsuit alleges the firefighters, who were each employed by the departments for decades, “have suffered irreversible hearing loss and a permanent decrease of their hearing” making them unable “to enjoy life’s pleasures.”

According to the suit, the fire truck manufacturers failed to test and develop crew cabs or install after-market modifications that would allow for safe sound levels for the firefighters while responding to calls in fire department vehicles, including pump and ladder trucks and paramedic vehicles.

The suit further alleges Federal Signal Corp. knew or should have known the sirens were “inherently dangerous” to a human’s hearing and failed to develop a safe product.

Each firefighter is seeking $150,000 in damages as well as court costs associated with the suit. 

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