Franklin Fire Department Equips Trucks with Digital Alerting System

Franklin Fire Department Equips Trucks with Digital Alerting System

Mar 27, 2024

Story originally posted by Mye Owens at WKRN

FRANKLIN, Tenn. —  In Franklin, you’ll find more than lights and sirens any time an emergency crew gets close.

Now, you may notice a new alert pop up in your GPS. It’s new technology meant to make the roads safer for drivers and first responders.

“When they are responding, that’s when the notification goes out to the motorist, about a 30-second heads up to whenever we would be seen,” explained Daniel Donegan, a fire analyst with the Franklin Fire Department.

It’s called Safety Cloud® and it warns drivers when an emergency vehicle is approaching. It will notify a driver within a 30-second radius that they need to slow down or move over for a nearby emergency vehicle.

“We see it every day with vehicles across the country and across the state where they are striking the back of these vehicles, so hopefully this earlier warning will help give other motorists the time to move over,” explained Donegan.

State law requires drivers to slow down or move over for emergency and utility service vehicles, but that doesn’t always happen. The fire department saw it first hand in 2017 when one of its trucks was struck while working a crash on I-65.

Fast forward to 2023, and the Franklin Fire Department responded to more than 11,000 calls; nearly 600 of them were for motor vehicle crashes.

“We are oftentimes working in the roadway. If not, our vehicles are at least stopped in the roadway. So moving over gives us room and space to do our jobs and hopefully does not create another incident on that scene,” Donegan said.

The department explained many people don’t hear the trucks coming, and when you combine that with distracted driving, it can become a huge challenge.

“Everyone is just so busy. Everyone is on their devices and they’re just not always paying attention to their surroundings. They are paying attention to what’s in front of them and where they are going, so this gives them the ability to, hopefully, give them that extra alert to keep themselves and our responders safe,” Donegan explained.

They are also hoping the technology will improve response times. The fire department responds to thousands of calls every year; by reducing the risk of collision, the quicker they can respond to an emergency.

“Our average response time is just over five minutes here in the City of Franklin. If we can reduce that time, it helps save lives in the back end. So by this software allowing the motorist to have a heads up, hopefully, we’re not having to slow down as much to have to get close to the motorists to have them move over for us,” said Donegan.

The system went operational in select trucks last week, and the fire department said it’s already working, with people slowing down and moving over before they reach crews on the road.

About HAAS Alert

HAAS Alert makes roads and communities safer by delivering digital alerts from emergency response and other municipal fleets to nearby drivers. The company streams real-time alerts and other vital safety information to motorists and connected cars via in-vehicle and navigation systems when emergency vehicles are approaching and on-scene. For emergency response and roadway fleets interested in joining the Safety Cloud, click below to get equipped.