NEW YORK - The sound of a Mount Sinai ambulance is unlike any other in the city. But, that unmistakable high-low siren has been frustrating some Morningside Heights residents who live near Mount Sinai Saint Luke's Hospital who say it's too loud and that they hear it too often.
"It's been very, very loud and I think it's unfair that we're paying such high rent here and now we have to hear this," said one resident.
"They have fundamentally changed the number of ambulances that are being dispatched from our neighborhood and it's killing us," said another resident.
Residents filled a community board 9 committee meeting Monday for the chance to hear directly from hospital representatives.
Hospital officials say the sirens installed in their ambulances don't have sound controls.
"It's either on or off, there's nothing we can do to turn the volume on or up," said one hospital official.
But officials admitted that ambulances from Mount Sinai Saint Luke's are now handling some 40,000 911 calls each year, through a contract with the fire department. That contract regulates when and how long sirens are sounded.
"It's disrupting everyone's sleep, it's making us deaf there's a real health issue here," said one concerned resident.
Some residents left unsatisfied, determined to take their complaints to the FDNY or the mayor's office if necessary, until the sirens quiet down.
"Have the fire department change their regulations and make it not necessary for ambulances to turn their sirens on in non critical cases," suggested one resident.
"I don't know how long it's going to take, I hope it's before I go deaf," added another resident.
Hospital officials say the ambulance sirens register at 110 decibels which they say is no louder than any other siren you'll hear in the city.
Residents say they plan to keep up the pressure. The board planning to bring fire officials into this conversation and so this issue is far from over.