GRAND RAPIDS, the United States, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. state of Michigan has rolled out new safety measures to prevent collisions involving emergency vehicles on their routes to calls or at the scene.
Fire trucks, police cars and first aid vehicles equipped with the new technologies can now send alerts to nearby drivers through their smartphones and navigation apps, which will help ensure safe passage and reduce response time.
The new technologies also enable alerts between first responders and other approaching emergency, public safety and municipal vehicles, according to the City of Grand Rapids Fire Department.
Despite brighter lights and louder sirens, collisions, injuries and fatalities are on the rise at an alarming rate, the city fire department's information technology officer Brian Block told Xinhua on Friday.
Responders face more risk of injury and death en-route to a call than at the scene itself, he added.
Advanced warning devices imbedded in the new technologies, like the HAAS Alert, have shown to reduce the chances of collision by 60 percent to 90 percent, according to a pilot simulations study conducted at the University of Minnesota.
"HAAS Alert devices have been equipped on 30 fire trucks of the City of Grand Rapids Fire Department," Block said, adding that they proved to be "very efficient" in preventing crashes en-route to calls and reducing time to reach the scenes.
The Chicago-based HAAS Alert has been working with fire departments, police departments and highway patrols in 20 U.S. states to put the new technologies into use, the company's chief operating officer Noah Levens told Xinhua.
Each year in the United States, there are over 60,000 collisions involving emergency responders. Of all the firefighter fatalities in the last decade, one in five actually occurred while they were in transit to or returning from a call, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Enditem