I'm a light sleeper....it doesn't take much to get me fully awake.
Early this morning....around 3AM....with the window open and a fresh breeze pouring in.....the village's fire "horn" came on. The best description I would give is an old fashioned air-raid siren from WW II.
The village has four thousand residents and has it's own volunteer fire department. I'd take a guess that they run three vehicles, and might have forty total volunteer fire-fighters. Unlike a lot of volunteer fire departments in the US with continual affairs, accusations, and bickering....these guys and gals tend to maintain a professional atmosphere and just do what's required. Maybe it's the German attitude of prioritizing or just being professional on an important profession.....but it works.
The standard practice is that someone will call a 9-11 type number.....they route the message to the fire department alarm system, and the air-raid siren comes on. It'll typically take fifteen minutes for folks to run down to the station, don some gear, and turn the vehicle sirens on.
In an average month, I probably hear this air-raid siren around five times. I used to think they did only house-related fires, but I stand corrected.....they also get called out to the local autobahn for accidents within kilometers of the village as well.
Last night's episode? From what I can figure....there was an apartment fire in Wiesbaden (five miles away), and it went way beyond the typical average fire that they handle, and they asked for more help from surrounding regions. At least fifty firefighters ended up at the blaze.