By: David Braunstein, President, Together for Safer Roads
The moments following a road crash are critical for survival. And often, emergency responders are faced with the hurdle of subsequent congestion on the road due to the crash, ultimately delaying their arrival to the scene. In addition to a loss of immediate care, first responders are often involved in traffic collisions when heading to the scene. In fact, in the United States alone, an astounding 60,000 collisions between motorists and emergency vehicles have been reported. This is where the role of technology comes into play. Appropriate technologies, which we’ll touch on shortly, have the ability to help reduce collisions with first responders and ensure they get to the incident quickly and safely.
When speaking with our members, they unanimously tell us that sharing the road safely with other users, including emergency responders, is of highest priority. That’s why our members and city partners are piloting ‘Responder-to-Vehicle’ technologies, which alert motorists in real-time when emergency vehicles are responding to an incident, and ‘Responder-to-Responder’ technologies, which send real-time alerts to users when emergency vehicles are responding to an incident. Technologies like these simultaneously work to deliver real-time digital alerts to motorists and other emergency responders through navigation apps and systems, so collisions can be avoided, and lives can be saved.
While on the scene, first responders must note post-crash documentation once harm is mitigated to ensure proper care. While we’d like to think this has always been a seamless process, it simply has not. Whether data comes from sensors, questioners, police records or first responder notes, older procedures left individuals tasked with manually inputting data into a computer. But, with the continued development of the FirstNet cellular network, an interoperable public safety broadband network, emergency vehicles are offered ultimate connectivity by routing traffic synchronously between carrier networks. FirstNet enables public safety operators to send text messages, images, video and location in real-time, ensuring situational awareness, despite the network.
Also, technologies like CalAmp’s Vehicle Area Networks (VAN) can help police, fire and medical first responders stay connected to their multiple information systems when they leave their vehicles on-scene. VAN also permits first responders to send collected data from the incident to headquarters through smart devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops. Big data collected at crash scenes are no longer a burden, but a point of opportunity, allowing first responders to gather critical information sooner and act faster.
First responders risk their lives daily to save the lives of others. It’s important that we foster an environment where emergency response technology is utilized, helping first responders get to the incident faster and safer.
To learn more about the necessary technologies to create a digital siren for emergency responders while simultaneously improving road safety, read Together for Safer Roads’ technology report, at www.togetherforsaferroads.org/technology.