Opticom Priority Control as a ServiceSM gives Hutto Fire Rescue first responders
a green light without the hassle
Hutto Fire Rescue is one of the first departments in the country to get the latest evolution of a critical safety tool that will help crews respond more quickly and safely to emergencies.
The department now uses industry-leading Opticom Priority Control as a Service (PCaaS), a hassle-free type of traffic signal preemption that gives first responders the ability to get a green light at signalized intersections without having to install or maintain any equipment.
Hutto Fire Rescue chief Scott Kerwood said the new system allows first responders to focus on what they do best and not worry about the preemption system.
Hutto Fire Rescue has 10 vehicles and 28 signalized intersections equipped with the necessary equipment.
In a traditional traffic signal preemption system, when an emergency vehicle needs to navigate an intersection, the Opticom Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) system on-board the emergency vehicle sends an infrared or radio signal to the intersection ahead of its arrival, turning the light green and clearing a path to enable the vehicle’s safe passage.
By getting a green light, emergency vehicles avoid having to slow down or stop, and there’s less risk of getting hit by cross traffic. The result is a safer and faster response.
Opticom PCaaS still provides that clear path through the intersection, but also includes comprehensive services including site preparation, installation, system configuration, maintenance, remote monitoring and help desk support. This work would have otherwise been done by the city, department staff or a contractor. Instead, all Hutto Fire Rescue has to do is pay a monthly fee.
The preemption system is installed and maintained by Global Traffic Technologies (GTT) — the St. Paul, Minn.-based makers of Opticom — and GTT’s authorized dealer, Consolidated Traffic Controls of Arlington, Texas.
PCaaS works similar to how homes and businesses get electricity, explained GTT’s vice president of marketing, Mike Haldane.
“Most people don’t worry about how electricity gets from the power plant to the light bulbs in their homes. They just pay the bill and expect it to work,” Haldane said. “Opticom PCaaS is the same: departments simply sign up, show up at the intersection and get a green light when they need it.”
PCaaS is thought of as a complete “turnkey” solution for cities who want the benefits of signal preemption without the hassle of procurement, installation and maintenance, Haldane added.
The concept isn’t new for many cities. Municipalities rarely purchase computers, software and electronics anymore. Technology changes too rapidly to justify a long-term purchase for a computer or software program that will be obsolete in a couple of years. In the public safety realm, departments around the country are moving away from capital purchases for fire trucks and even turnout gear.
With per-vehicle and per-intersection pricing, Opticom PCaaS is scalable as the community’s needs change. Hutto Fire Rescue can add a truck or street corridor to the service whenever they need.
Read coverage of this story in the Taylor Press