The unfortunate financial situation which has crippled the city of Detroit has also forced its fire departments to get creative in crafting alarm systems. The end result is a soda can containing coins serving as an alarm.

Gizmodo pointed out the Detroit Free Press' discovery of this, explaining the process: 

A soda can full of rattling metal is balanced on top of the fire department's printer at the end of the tray. When the printer spits out an emergency alert, the paper knocks over the can. The crash of the can hitting the floor tells firefighters that it's time to suit up

As Baldas reports, some departments get even more creative, setting up systems where the printout knocks over a weight that flips the switch on a doorbell ringer. Others replace the rattling can with a length of pipe, making a clanging wind-chime noise when the printout knocks it to the floor.

The city's bankruptcy trial revealed that this practice has been going on for nearly 40 years. Worse, there isn't a fire department in the city with anything close to the modern alarm systems that have become the standard for firehouses. 

That $42 million that emergency city manager Kevyn Orr promised to remedy this can't come soon enough. 

[via Gizmodo and Detroit Free Press]

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