Ben Franklin sent us a great local “tip.”

For everyone who wonders what happened when they hear the sirens sound in Sierra Vista or within the Fry Fire District, there’s a way to find out.

Navigate your web browser to https://web.pulsepoint.org and choose the agencies you want to follow. You can also filter the calls that agencies are responding to, listen to live radio broadcasts and find out the status of the units on the scene.

PulsePoint is a 911-connected mobile phone application that allows users to view and receive alerts on calls being responded to by fire departments and emergency medical services. The app’s main feature, and where its name comes from, is that it sends alerts to users at the same time that dispatchers are sending the call to emergency crews. The goal is to increase the possibility that a victim in cardiac arrest will receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation quickly.

The app uses the current location of a user and will alert them if someone in their vicinity is in need of CPR. As of Jan. 30, the PulsePoint Foundation reported that connected agencies had requested the assistance of 350,000 nearby responders for 100,000 cardiac arrest events.

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In the “old” days, we can remember that small communities were alerted to fire and rescue alarms when a loud siren was sounded. In some towns, the siren was tested every day at noon.

Sierra Vista had a siren in its early days, summoning volunteers to the firehouse where they were dispatched to the local emergency.

That was long before today’s technology or the volume of calls was comparable. Last year, the Sierra Vista Fire and Medical service responded to 7,719 calls, an average of more than 21 calls for every day in the calendar year, according to the City Council Executive Report published for November and December 2019.

If you have a memory of an a community siren, or a first-responder memory, share it with this column. Everyone will appreciate your insight!

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For some readers, Thanksgiving begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. Like falling asleep in front of the television while a football game is blaring, waking up to the festivities in New York City is a tradition “ … unlike any other,” as golf commentator Jim Nance would say.

For 2020, of course, the parade is being “re-imagined” according to organizers.

“The term parade is being used loosely this year. The helium-filled balloons and star-studded floats will not be traveling their typical jam-packed, two-and-a-half-mile route starting at West 77th Street. They will be gliding just one city block down 34th Street, near the flagship department store, and without an audience.”

Still, something is better than nothing, so we’re pleased that the pandemic won’t completely cancel a tradition that started in 1924. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has only been canceled three times in its 96-year history. This was due to helium shortages during World War II in 1942, 1943 and 1944.

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