Throughout the day today, residents may hear the Giant Voice system activate multiple times, playing bugle calls and testing emergency notifications while civilian and military officials take decibel readings.
Many residents have complained about the system being too loud in recent weeks.
“It’s driving me nuts,” said one woman who called the Journal on Tuesday to complain about the noise. “It’s like a loud siren and then a loud Reveille.”
She said she lives in the Bonnie Glen subdivision off of Terrell Mill Road and is awakened each morning at 8 a.m. to the sound of bugle calls. The subdivision is about 2 miles from Dobbins “as the crow flies.”
“It wakes you up, and we do have some late-shift nurses who live in our community who are home trying to sleep at that time,” she said.
A base spokesman said Dobbins has received its share of complaints from its neighbors. But it has also received numerous compliments from residents who say they appreciate the patriotic calls to duty and music.
“We have asked Cobb County authorities to assist us in verifying accurate sound level measurements of our emergency notification system,” said Capt. Patrick Simmons, 94th Airlift Wing public affairs officer. “In this way, we will be able to make the most informed determinations whether adjustments are necessary based on multiple noise level measurements.”
While the plan might result in slight adjustments to the volume, the system will still be required to remain loud enough for all base personnel to hear and take appropriate actions in the event of an emergency, Simmons said.
The base issued a news release Tuesday saying its “leadership is committed to ensuring that all legal noise limits are being adhered to, and will continue to recognize quiet hours already in place within Cobb County.”
“The key here is we’re getting complaints and we’re getting compliments, so we just want to make sure we are getting accurate readings,” Simmons said. “We believe we are in compliance. But we want to double check with Cobb County officials.”
While the system used on Dobbins is new, use of similar systems dates back as far as World War II. A Civil Defense siren was developed as a solution to new security concerns, such as the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Dobbins Air Reserve Base implemented the new speaker system Sept. 30. The previous, outdated Giant Voice system did not adhere to current security and logistical requirements set by the Air Force.
Since Feb. 1, bugle calls have also been heard on the same system. Reveille or “To the Colors” has been playing at 8 a.m. and Retreat (The National Anthem) at 4 p.m. The Air Force says these bugle calls are important for two reasons: “to test the system daily and to observe a rich tradition of military history.”
Reveille signals the beginning of the official duty day of Dobbins Air Reserve Base, and Retreat signals the end of the official duty day at Dobbins ARB. Most military installations play Reveille and Retreat at 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. However, Dobbins ARB adjusted the times slightly in an effort to lessen the potential impact on the local area.
“Dobbins ARB strives to be a considerate neighbor and is working to decrease potential impact to the surrounding communities while balancing our various mission requirements,” said Simmons. “We have always appreciated support from the community. We do not take this support for granted, and are immensely grateful for it.”