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Lubbock Fire Rescue installs new driver alert system, encourages public participation

Lubbock Fire Rescue installs the HAAS Alert system to notify drivers of nearby incidents.
Lubbock Fire Rescue installs the HAAS Alert system to notify drivers of nearby incidents.(Source: Lubbock Fire Rescue)
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After a successful trial period, Lubbock Fire Rescue is installing more devices on its trucks that will alert nearby drivers of their presence on the scene of an incident or while on their way to it. The goal is to get drivers to focus on what’s ahead for their safety and the safety of first responders.

“After the accident on January 11, we’re very proactive in every avenue possible on how can we increase the safety for our personnel, as well as just the citizens out there,” Captain Phillip Grandon said. “A vehicle accident, especially on a high-speed road, is hazardous to everyone involved.”

LFR has currently installed HAAS Alert transponders on 1/3 of its fleet and anticipates all necessary apparatus to have the technology in about a month. When the emergency lights are activated on those vehicles, members of the public who use the Waze app will be notified of those trucks.

“On average, you have 2.6 seconds to react to something, whether that’s hearing the sirens are actually seeing flashing lights,” Grandon said. “With this device, this is going to alert you 30 seconds before you get there, helping you to when you hear that alert say, okay, I need to pay attention.”

According to Grandon, LFR administration and the Traffic Safety Committee agreed the HAAS system would be helpful, especially as other departments have seen success.

LFR will invest $10,000 a year for the system. It also allows them to alert drivers of nearby road closures during extended incidents or inclement weather.

In the month of October, LFR alerted 5,009 drivers while equipped trucks worked 802 incidents.

“It shows us a lot of data, where we can track engines, how many people are alerted when an engine is on a scene,” Grandon said. “It’s good just for all the numbers that it gives us because we can actually see how effective this system is.”

Users just need to have the Waze app open, which Grandon said is free to download. The alerts can be heard by the user.

“This device in our truck will broadcast to all the drivers using this app,” Grandon said. “If you’re driving down the road, it will alert you. It has a unique sound. So, it’s not like any other alerts you get. That prevents you from having to look at your phone. When you hear that alert, you know that something’s coming up.”

In that case, drivers are advised to slow down, be prepared for an incident ahead, even if you may not be able to see due to an overpass or curve and move away from the trucks and personnel.

Grandon expects more navigation apps to work with the HAAS Alert system in the future. In the meantime, he encourages you to download Waze.

“This only works if we all use the equipment and the technology available to us,” Grandon said. “If you’re using it, you will receive alerts from us and that will help keep us safe and also help keep you safe.”

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