OKLAHOMA’S LARGEST EMS PROVIDER, Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) will become the first ambulance service in the nation to outfit its entire fleet with new Howler sirens, designed to emit low-frequency tones that penetrate objects within 200 feet — such as cars — to alert drivers.
The Associated Press reports:
Officials say the sirens are ideal for cutting through a sea of traffic, and give emergency responders another tool to let drivers know an ambulance is heading their way.
So far this year, EMSA vehicles have been involved in 16 intersection accidents, typically caused by an unyielding driver. Fifteen of those times, the ambulances were on a call, said EMSA spokeswoman Tina Wells.
“The most frequent thing motorists say to us is they didn’t see the ambulance coming,” Wells said at a Tuesday news conference, where the new technology was demonstrated.
During the demonstration, two ambulances were parked near each other. A plastic stepladder with three glasses of liquid on top was placed in between the vehicles.
The ambulance without the Howler sounded its siren and produced its familiar wail. Then, the Howler, which produced booms that sounded like a 1980s video game played at an earsplitting level. The liquids in the three glasses rippled.
Tulsa World photo
EMSA has been operating one of their ambulances with the Howler for a month’s trial and the results have been positive. The medics have noticed a great improvement in other drivers’ behavior when the ambulance approaches.
EMSA is based in Tulsa and provides the ambulance service for most of central Oklahoma. Adding the low-frequency siren will cost less than $400 for each ambulance, and outfitting the whole EMSA fleet will take about four to six months, said Kelly Smith, fleet manager.
KOKI-TV Ch. 23 has a video report and demonstration: