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Detroit Firefighters Use a Depressing, Creative Tool to Stay on Top of Fires


"We’re probably 30 years behind.”

Image via Detroit Free Press

Detroit was once a mighty industrial city.

Now it's the city where fire departments use soda cans as fire alarms.

Image via Detroit Free Press Image via Detroit Free Press

As the Detroit Free Press reported Friday, Detroit's cash-strapped fire departments have adopted creative and bizarre alarm systems to handle incoming fire calls.

One system: Prop a coin-filled Faygo can on the fax machine that spits out reports. When the can's knocked over, you know you've got business to handle.

“It sounds unbelievable, but it’s truly what the guys have been doing and dealing with for a long, long time,” Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner John Berlin told the Free Press. "We’re in desperate need. We’re probably 30 years behind.”

Over the past decade, Detroit has had between 11,000 and 12,000 fires each year, the Free Press noted, with an average fire department response time of seven minutes.

How did Detroit come to the point of using a MacGyvered fax-Faygo alarm system?

As the Free Press detailed in a special report last year, Detroit's municipal leaders contributed to the city's bankruptcy over several decades, encouraging taxpayers to leave the city by raising taxes, binge borrowing and granting well over $1 billion in bonuses to public employees — some of them the same public employees who now limp along with badly outdated technology.

(H/T: Gizmodo)

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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