EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – During emergencies, time is of the essence, and with the help of newly-implemented technology, the Evansville Fire Department is taking that to another level by mixing new with old. It is known as “applied information” technology, and combined with every day stoplights, it is saving time and potentially saving lives.
“When they are in lights and sirens mode, it is sending out a signal, and the intersection is doing all the work to calculate how quickly the fire truck is going to get there, and it is estimating how much time it needs and it begins a cycle of the lights,” explains Assistant Fire Chief Paul Anslinger.
Anslinger led the charge to bring this technology to Evansville, a process that took nearly 5 years. The stoplight preemption technology is currently functional at nearly 230 intersections in the city, and Anslinger says that number will grow as newly constructed intersections will be compatible with this technology. This implementation does not only benefit firefighters, but drivers on the road as well.
“The public are being stopped by the red lights because of the fire trucks preempting them, making them green,” says Anslinger, “so it becomes a safer path of travel for our firefighters, then also the public is safer for this.”
Outside of creating a cleaner driving path for the fire department, the preemptive technology has other benefits as well. As the lights stay green, trucks will not have as much “stop-and-go”, which will reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs with less wear and tear on the vehicles. Also, with less stopping, Anslinger estimates a 20-25 percent reduction in response time.
“Which means for us, an average response time that was taking 3 and a half to 4 minutes, we’re doing it in 3 minutes.”