Sig­nal sys­tem’s goal is to speed re­sponse

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - — HALEIGH SVO­BODA, AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN STAFF

The city’s fire and trans­porta­tion de­part­ments launched a new traf­fic sig­nal pre-emp­tion sys­tem Thurs­day to help im­prove firetruck and am­bu­lance re­sponse times and in­crease safety.

The Trans­porta­tion De­part­ment has equipped 50 traf­fic sig­nals with the Op­ti­com traf­fic pre-emp­tion sys­tem, which al­lows firetrucks and am­bu­lances flash­ing emer- gency lights and blar­ing sirens to get the green light at in­ter­sec­tions.

All fire de­part­ment ve­hi­cles and San Mar­cos-Hays County EMS units op­er­at­ing San Mar­cos have been out­fit­ted with the nec­es­sary equip­ment to ac­ti­vate the sys­tem, San Mar­cos Fire Chief Les Stephens said in a news re­lease.

The city hopes the new sys­tem will also re­duce in­ter­sec­tion ac­ci­dents be­tween emer­gency re­spon­ders and other drivers.

“While the San Mar­cos Fire De­part­ment has an ex­tremely low ac­ci­dent rate, we be­lieve this sys­tem will greatly im­prove the safety of all ve­hi­cles ap­proach­ing in­ter­sec­tions when we are re­spond­ing to emer­gen­cies,” Stephens said.

A Fed­eral As­sis­tance to Fire­fight­ers Grant, awarded to the fire de­part­ment in March, cov­ered 90 per­cent of the $383,800 cost of im­ple­ment­ing the sys­tem. The city cov­ered the re­main­ing cost with bud­geted funds.

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