Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Madison’s fire engines given light right of way

Red lights may glow atop Madison fire engines, but city
streetlights are now showing the trucks more green ones.

City of Madison Fire Marshal Ed Ruckriegel unveiled the
completion of a citywide project Tuesday that gives fire trucks the right of
way at dozens of area intersections.

When a fire engine with its lights and sirens on drives
within 1,800 feet of a stoplight equipped with the technology, the stoplight
turns green, allowing the vehicle to pass through without having to slow down
or wait for the light to change.


The goal, Ruckriegel said, involves reducing response times
and improving safety for firefighters weaving their way through sometimes heavy
city traffic.

?It’s not an alternate to locating fire stations, it’s not
an alternate to building fire stations by any means,? Ruckriegel said. ?It’s
just a tool that improves response times and more importantly improves fire
fighter safety.?

The recently completed implementation of the new technology
included 64 intersections citywide at a cost of about $1,400 each or $90,000
total. Ninety percent of the funding came from the state with the remainder
coming out of city funds.

Ruckriegel and MFD Public Information Officer Lori Wirth
provided a look at the system at the Fire Administration Building Tuesday

Each Madison fire truck and ambulance has a transmitter that
looks like black box on the top or front side of it. The transmitter emits a
strobe light to communicate with the upcoming stoplights.

The technology has been gradually put into use since 2001,
Ruckriegel said, adding the transmitters are working.

?In terms of real feedback, we haven’t received a lot other
than, ?Let’s get some more,?? he said.

As a result, the department is looking into obtaining the
technology at an additional 100 intersections citywide.

Ruckriegel said the Department of Homeland Security provides
some fire safety grants that city officials might look into obtaining to expand
the project.

Minneapolis reported response times reduced by an
average of 10 to 20 seconds due to the technology, Ruckriegel said. The Madison
Fire Department’s goal is to respond to calls within five minutes.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *