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Transponder installs in as little as five minutes to enable emergency vehicles to broadcast alerts. Also provides R2R™ (Responder-to-Responder) communication.

HAAS Alert is helping eliminate the #1 danger for first responders

A new tech company is working to help first responders avoid collisions through direct communication between responders and the vehicles with which they share the road. This year, HAAS Alert has introduced R2V (Responder-to-Vehicle) technology for fire fighters, and other emergency crews, that delivers real-time alerts to motorists in the vicinity of approaching emergency vehicles so that drivers can pull over safely in plenty of time to let emergency trucks pass.

When the call for emergency responders rings, the men and women who jump into action know there may be danger at the site of the emergency. But the highest potential for danger actually occurs on the way to the call through collisions with motorists on the roadways. (Source: National Fire Protection Agency)

It’s a common scenario: A fire crew is dispatched to an incident, so they hurry into their apparatus, prepare their equipment and speedily head to the scene. With sirens engaged and lights flashing, they’re counting on motorists to see them, hear them and pull over so they can make it to the scene and do their jobs as safely and as fast as possible. But, there are impediments: the driver checking his phone is distracted, doesn’t notice the siren and clogs the lane; another motorist with soundproofing in her vehicle can’t tell where the truck is coming from so doesn’t react until it’s too late; or worse – a vehicle enters an intersection with the fire truck fast approaching and a collision occurs.

Motorists receive visual and audible warning right on the in-dash of their car and also through popular navigation apps.A new tech company is working to help first responders avoid such collisions through direct communication between responders and the vehicles with which they share the road. This year, HAAS Alert has introduced R2V (Responder-to-Vehicle) technology for fire fighters, and other emergency vehicles, that delivers real-time alerts to motorists in the vicinity of approaching emergency crews so that drivers can pull over safely in plenty of time to let emergency trucks pass.

It all starts with a Smart City IoT (Internet of Things) device installed onto emergency vehicles and connected to any aftermarket light bar and/or siren on any first responder vehicle. It’s a small transponder that installs in as little a five minutes, requiring no down-time for the fleet. Additionally, the company offers a direct data API solution, so departments can utilize HAAS Alert without any device on the vehicle. And, since the cost is minimal for all solutions (less than the cost of a pair of some fire-fighter gloves) most cities and responder crews are finding it simple to join the service. So, more and more fleets are getting access to R2V Technology and benefitting from the alerts and the data they continuously generate.

R2V Alerts are new for drivers and for first responders. For the first time, emergency crews have the ability to broadcast their location in real-time whenever their vehicle is in emergency (Code 3) mode. For responders, it’s as simple as turning on the sirens and lightbar to engage the transponder. Once that happens, the vehicle’s location is broadcast across mobile networks where it enters HAAS Alert’s safety data cloud where it can be transmitted back out in real-time. On the receiving end, drivers can get the alerts several ways: Connected cars receive alerts right in-dash; Motorists using the popular Waze navigation app get alerts directly, and people using the HAAS Alert app receive the alerts. HAAS Alert expects its alerts to be integrated with more navigation apps in the near future.

Once the alert is received, it shows up as a brief audible and visual warning right inside the vehicle with locations shown on maps of the immediate area.

Fire-fighters are reaping a lot of benefits from alerts delivered in this manner. It’s an alert that the driver simply can’t miss and won’t ignore. Whereas in the past, first responders have had no way to communicate directly with drivers other than to flash their lights and blow their horns when approaching, now, drivers have a clear view that emergency crews are coming through. That means drivers have more time to pull over safely and first responders can make it to the incident safely in less time. Furthermore, since the transponder is continuously emitting data regarding crew location, the fleet captures valuable data they can analyze to find opportunities to improve performance overall. That’s something that fire chiefs have never had before.

Transponder installs in as little as five minutes to enable emergency vehicles to broadcast alerts. Also provides R2R™ (Responder-to-Responder) communication.

Transponder installs in as little as five minutes to enable emergency vehicles to broadcast alerts. Also provides R2R™ (Responder-to-Responder) communication.

In Grand Rapids Michigan they’ve been running R2V for more than a year with success. They’re now expanding the program to take advantage of the Smart City IoT capabilities that HAAS Alert has built into Smart City IoT Sensors that allow the transponders to exchange data with IoT enabled objects like traffic signals, road signs and lights. That means that they not only communicate directly into drivers’ vehicles with the alerts but can also affect the road environment by changing light signals, posting warnings or illuminating street lights.

“HAAS Alert has enabled the GRFD to take more preemptive safety measures resulting in increased safety margins and decreased risk to our crews and the citizens we serve.” Captain Brad Brown, Grand Rapids Fire Department (Grand Rapids, MI)

R2V Technology is fundamentally changing the way emergency personnel approach their jobs. First responders deserve every protection in the line of duty and by opening up the lines of communication between responders and the public around them, Fire-fighters now have an additional level of safety.

It’s no wonder the industry is moving quickly to embrace the new technology. This year, HAAS Alert received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to expand the program for first responders. The company also has support from leading safety organizations including NSC (National Safety Council), FAMA (Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association), FEMSA (Fire and Emergency Manufacturers and Services Association) and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

If you’re interested in learning more, contact HAAS Alert at info@haasalert.com. And, look for HAAS Alert’s upcoming session at FDIC International 2018 this spring in Indianapolis where they are a featured presenter and will be taking attendees step by step through R2V Technology, how it works and ways your fleet can benefit immediately.

For more information, go to www.haasalert.com

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Noah Levens is co-founder and COO at HAAS Alert where he is responsible for emergency services operations, product and business development.

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