Signal system’s goal is to speed response
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.