View from the Street * June 2017

View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

I asked Mark Ignatowski to write a short article on EVP.

Emergency Preemption of traffic signals and cost savings of preventing accidents  by  Mark Ignatowski  Global Traffic Technologies

Emergency Vehicle Preemptions (EVP) has the potential to increase safety, reduce response times and save money.

Opticom EVP works by sending a request from the vehicle’s emitter to a receiver at the intersection. The receiver passes the request to the traffic light controller in the traffic cabinet. The controller determines whether it will grant the request and then subsequently changes the light.

Preemption creates a more predictable traffic situation for emergency vehicles and other drivers. Cross-traffic stops at the intersection and traffic traveling the same direction as the emergency vehicle can drive through the intersection and safely pull over to make way for the emergency vehicle. These conditions reduce the potential for devastating crashes.

According to United States Fire Administration (USFA) data1, motor vehicle crashes are the second highest cause of death for firefighters, accounting for between 20–25 percent of the annual line-of-duty fatalities. From 2006 to 2015, 154 firefighters have died because of a vehicle collision, according to USFA records2.

Fire vehicle crashes can be very costly and the injury or death of a firefighter or citizen carries a significant financial cost and emotional toll. Secondarily, emergency vehicle repairs or replacements can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, the department could be liable for damage and injuries to other vehicles and persons involved in the crash. Insurance premiums for businesses and citizens can at least partially be affected by response time and overall safety. Finally, a delayed response can result in worse outcomes for patients and/or further damage to structures and other property.

By creating a familiar traffic situation, EVP can help to reduce crash rates and speed up response times3.


  1. United States Fire Administration, 2011

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2017 Killed in the Line of Duty   *all causes*

Police Officers      54
Firefighters          44
EMS      ?              03
Towers  ?             04

 Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

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