Phoenix Firefighters ask for Preemption Devices

Phoenix Firefighters are asking for preemption devices to be placed on the street lights throughout the City. Read the story here.

Firefighters in Phoenix said they want preemption devices that change street lights for oncoming emergency vehicles mounted on light signals throughout the city.

Todd Harms is an assistant chief with the Phoenix Fire Department.

“What that light does is recognize a fire truck and it turns it green for us and red for everyone else. So, No. 1, it makes it safe, and No. 2, you don’t have to stop,” said Harms.

The transmitter can be seen on top of the lightbar

The transmitter can be seen on top of the lightbar

Preemption devices, or technically termed Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP), are systems which give emergency vehicles a green light at intersections and change all others to red. OptiCom is one such device trademarked by 3M. Emergency vehicles are equipped with a transmitter (usually a strobe light attached to the light-bar) that sends a signal tot the signal control box at the light. When the signal control box is activated a flood light located near the stoplight will light up warning other vehicles that it is about to change. All of the lights will change to red with the exepction of the direction the emergency vehicle is approaching which will change to or remain green.

This system is expensive, especially when you are thinking about installing it at thousands of intersections. The city where I work has an EVP system on a majority of intersections. The system works great and makes passage through intersections for us and other motorists much safer than without. While many people might say that this is a nice frill or bell or whistle for the fire service. I think that it is definitely something that most municipalities should begin to budget for the future!