City Hall Blog (archived)

Concord Fire and Life Safety restores historic diaphone

 By Chief Randy Holloway

A team from the Department of Fire and Life Safety has restored the 1935 Gamewell Diaphone located at Station 1 on Church Street.

The horn was used decades ago to alert volunteer firefighters to the location of fire calls by sounding a code indicating the street location. When the horn was no longer used for that purpose, the Department began sounding the horn each day at noon and eleven times on Veteran's Day at 11:00 a.m. in remembrance of all Veterans. This practice was continued to the late 1980s when the system failed and the Department decided not to make the needed repairs.

The video below shows a diaphone similar to Concord’s in operation. The sound is the same, but rather than three short blasts, Concord’s will give one medium-length blast:


At the December 2010 City Council meeting, City Council directed staff to restore the diaphone and gauge public opinion on once again sounding it daily at noon (except Sunday).

Now that repairs are complete, the diaphone test will take place at 12:00 noon on Thursday, January 6; Friday, January 7; and Saturday, January 8. This will give the public a sense of what it would be like to reestablish the tradition of regularly sounding the horn on a daily basis.

To obtain feedback on the test, residents who live within one mile of Station 1 will be able to participate in an automated phone survey on Sunday, January 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Residents who are in the City’s Connect CTY system will receive the survey. Click here to check if you are in the system add your contact information if desired.

Following the test and public feedback, staff will report to City Council at their January meeting, and Council will decide whether to regularly sound the horn on a daily basis.