On a recent episode of TravelSafely radio, Bryan Mulligan of Applied Information interviewed retired Marietta Fire Chief Jackie Gibbs to discuss how traffic technology has improved roadway safety and emergency vehicle response time.
Rising through the ranks
Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia, Jackie Gibbs graduated from Southern Tech, now Kennesaw State, with a degree in Fire Science. During his tenure with the Marietta Fire Department, he continued his education and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering.
As he rose through the ranks, Gibbs migrated toward fire codes and the safety side of fire service, which included not only public safety, but firefighter safety, too. He became Fire Marshal of the city and eventually accepted the Marietta Fire Chief position, which he held for eighteen years before he retired.
“As a career and growing up, the most fun you could have is working in the Fire Department,” Gibbs said. He added that he always wanted to be a firefighter because there’s a huge satisfaction in helping people, especially through fire safety education. By providing information that people will use, Gibbs and other firefighters give them the tools to improve their own safety.
Green to Scene™ technology
Gibbs met host Bryan Mulligan when they worked together on the launch of an emergency vehicle preemption and priority system in Marietta. The system connects all the fire trucks to the traffic intersections in order to get firefighters and responders to emergencies more safely and quickly. The technology is also called Green to Scene™ because it delivers green lights for the fire trucks while bringing everyone else safely to a halt.
Gibbs says that Green to Scene was “one of the biggest improvements in our opportunity to respond safely and effectively that I’ve seen in my career.” Having the opportunity for the fire trucks to communicate with traffic signals gives the fire apparatus operator the opportunity to see the upcoming intersection clearly, approach it more safely and have the confidence that the other vehicle would stop so he could proceed on. By not having to halt the fire truck at each intersection, they were able to pick up valuable time with each intersection they drove through. Ultimately, the technology made driving the fire truck much safer and relieved the pressure of finding a way to get through a congested intersection.
Making a difference
The combination of connected vehicle technology and Applied Information’s mission to save lives and improve traffic is making a real difference on the roads. Some people talk about what could happen in the future, but Mulligan and his team at Applied Information know that they’re making a difference today.
It’s especially important when you remember the times that this technology would have made a difference in saving lives, said Gibbs. It’s critical that we impress upon the public the need to use the technology, to move toward it, and to take advantage of not only what it offers in terms of public safety, but also the safety of the firefighters. Connected technology is where fire safety is headed. It’s a must-have for fire services now and in the future.