First responders prepare for Cecil Ashburn Dr. closure

Technology installed in traffic lights and emergency vehicles will help first responders get to calls.

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 3:11 PM

Technology installed in the Hampton Cove area of Huntsville will help emergency crews meet you and your family in a timely manner if the worst happens. Huntsville Fire and Rescue Chief Mac McFarlen explained it was installed in Hampton Cove recently because of the impending 10-month long closure of Cecil Ashburn Road.

Fire stations that will help respond to emergencies in Hampton Cove have the devices in their trucks, and it's also installed in traffic lights in the area.

"When traffic backs up and you're running lights and sirens, there is no where to go," McFarlen said.

The technology installed at traffic lights in the area should stop that from happening.

"Once we turn the emergency lights on, it turns the equipment on and it sends a radio signal to nearby traffic lights that have that equipment," he said.

That equipment then sends a GPS location and speed of the fire truck or ambulance and the traffic signal changes to green when the fire truck approaches.

McFarlen said there are two fire stations in Hampton Cove, but they have other stations on standby if they're needed for an emergency.

The cost to install the technology to about eight traffic lights and to more than eight fire trucks costs the department about $75,000. It's also been installed in ambulances so if they're headed to Huntsville Hospital from the Hampton Cove area, they'll have an easier time getting there. McFarlen explained the new technology is already installed in the traffic lights and the component that goes in the fire trucks should be installed by the end of next week.

The Huntsville Police Department said it will have extra officers out patrolling the roads that will see more traffic with Cecil Ashburn being closed. Those officers will be enforcing the speed limit. The department's South Precinct in Jones valley said it will plan to have officers assigned to work in Hampton Cove so that they can maintain a quick response time.

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