Within the next few days, every vehicle (except Squad 170) will be equipped with the STROBECOM Traffic Pre-emption system. The following information is being provided to you for both the safety of the motorist this will affect, and the responding apparatus.
The pre-emption system being used is triggered by a high-frequency flash pattern on a strobe light that causes the system to revert the traffic signal green light to the approaching apparatus. The clear floodlight indicator will illuminate when the system locks on, HOWEVER THERE CAN BE A DELAY OF SEVERAL SECONDS FOR THE TRAFFIC LIGHT TO CYCLE TO GREEN. This can cause a problem with the apparatus "overdriving" the lights, getting there before the system switches. DO NOT RELY ON THIS SYSTEM TO GIVE YOU THE RIGHT-OF-WAY. Always approach the intersection looking out for other vehicles. A slower approach to the intersections might be warranted to allow the system to work correctly.
Another situation you will encounter with the design and operation of this system is the activation by apparatus travelling in different directions. For example, if Engine 151 is approaching the intersection and has locked the system, Engine 251 cannot activate the system while approaching from their area. It has no priority for travel directions, so it's "first come, first served" as far as the signal goes. Some "late night testing" will be performed to confirm this information. Also, with Boone County EMS wanting to add the system to their vehicles, this could cause more congestion of the system.
The systems are set up to operate as follows:
Engine 151: Lightbar on, park brake off. Disables when park brake set.
Engine 152: Tied into the CROSSFIRE lights. Can be turned off using CROSSFIRE switch.
Ladder 199: Tied into lightbar lower level switch, can be cut off without turning the upper rotating lights off.
Rescue 182: Lightbar on, park brake off. Disables when park brake set.
Rescue 183: Lightbar on only, will be changed when wiring problem to lightbar gets corrected.
Squads 171 & 181: To be determined.
If you are on scene of an incident near the intersections controlled by the STROBECOM systems, you might have to cut the system off, if you are operating a vehicle that does not automatically cut off, to allow the traffic signals to operate as normal.
The STROBECOM systems will make the approaches to the intersection less hazardous for our apparatus, but the Engineer/driver must still use due caution and good judgement when they enter the intersections. NEVER rely on this as definate right-of-way, and NEVER second-guess the motoring public's reaction to lights/siren and the big white trucks.