SC fire, EMS to control traffic lights during emergencies

Once crews have gone through the light, the system will change back to its regular traffic cycle


By EMS1 Staff

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A fire department is hoping response times will improve after technology is installed at busy intersections.

WBTW.com reported that traffic preemption technology will be installed at 25 of the busiest intersections in Myrtle Beach. The installation, according to the report, will allow fire and EMS vehicles to change a traffic light from red to green. 

"What happens is when our engines and trucks approach the intersection, it'll change the light in our favor so we can get to where we're going quicker and safer so we don't have to worry about traffic so much," Myrtle Beach Fire Department Capt. Jonathan Evans said.

The preemption system, which was included in the city's budget, costs $60,000 a year. 

"Our big thing is response time, so we want to get to where we're going as quickly and safely as possible, so that comes to us coming out of the door here, getting our gear on, getting out of the station with the dispatching, but also getting en route to the incident wherever we're going," Capt. Evans said.

Once crews have gone through the light, the system will change back to its regular traffic cycle. Eventually, the department wants the technology installed throughout the city, according to the report.

"Every second counts when it comes to these emergency situations so if we can cut that time down when we're traveling, then that's a great benefit to all of us," Capt. Evans said.

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