Applied Information Blog

How preemption systems keep firefighters and the public safe

Fire departments are continuously looking at ways to deliver emergency services more efficiently. In the past, the best solution for decreasing response time was to increase the number of fire stations and strategically locate them across the city. This entails building new stations, hiring more firefighters, and purchasing new equipment. While effective, this approach quickly adds up to a substantial investment.

Leveraging New Preemption Systems

Many cities and municipalities are turning to a new generation of preemption systems as a way to improve response times and increase safety. Newer, GPS-based preemption systems, and the benefits they offer the community include:

  • GPS preemption systems are improving response times by nearly 30% vs. no preemption system. The value of emergency services arriving at their destination in almost a third less time is immeasurable.
  • The system not only protects firefighters, but also the people in the community by clearing traffic for emergency vehicles and moving motorists through congested routes.
  • A preemption system can improve Insurance Service Organization ratings, which are given for the level of preparedness response of an agency. An improved ISO rating may qualify individuals and businesses in the community for better insurance rates.

Responsibility and liability

The cost of liability is another key reason that cities are exploring preemption systems, and their improvements to safety. Anytime a fire truck leaves a fire station, the department takes on responsibility and liability for accidents that directly, or even indirectly, involve the emergency vehicle. Annually, between six and ten firefighter deaths occur en route to or from an emergency call. Intersection accidents account for between 20 and 25 total deaths, and an estimated 2,500 vehicles are involved in some type of collision with a fire truck per year. This takes a tremendous toll on families as well as local governments.

Adaptive preemption technology

During an emergency, the primary goal is for the emergency response units to arrive as quickly and as safely as possible. While it may seem like a relatively simple task, it requires a comprehensive and well-timed plan. Utilizing an adaptive preemption system allows the agency to control signalized intersections remotely so they can request a green light well in advance of the emergency vehicle approaching the intersection. This clears the intersection prior to its arrival so the fire truck can move through at a normal pace and avoid the more dangerous and chaotic approach requiring honking horns and blazing sirens to urge drivers to move out of the way.

Investing in today and tomorrow

The fire department, citizen drivers and those receiving the emergency response are the main beneficiaries of a preemptive system for many reasons. Preemption systems can decrease response time and provide safer, less chaotic travel for emergency vehicles. It reduces the number of accidents and eliminates the need to spend additional tax dollars on building and manning more fire stations across the city. With today’s technology, a GPS preemptive system can provide the solution that will not only solve today’s challenges, but will also support you well into the future.

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