Technology Change

City of Myrtle Beach considering technology to change traffic lights for fire crews

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The city of Myrtle Beach wants to install technology that would change traffic lights for fire crews when they respond to a call.

The idea is to put transmitters in every fire truck and emergency response vehicle, and when they come to congested intersections the traffic light will change. The plan is proposed in the city’s budget for next year, and the goal is to get fire fighters to scenes quickly and safely.

Lt. Jonathan Evans with Myrtle Beach Fire and Rescue said, “We have had incidents where we have been hit, and we’ve taken our due diligence to make it through, and people still think they have the green light and they fly through and don’t see us.”

Myrtle Beach city council wants to add the devices to vehicles at three fire stations and cover 20 intersections. They want to implement the technology at some of the most congested and heavily traveled intersections like Harrelson Blvd, Kings Highway, 21st and 29th Avenues.

Officials said it will help reduce the number of accidents. If a fire truck is involved in a wreck, it’s out of service and creates added cost to the agency.

“We immediately call dispatch to let them know we’re in an accident and to dispatch someone else to help us and to that call. It does take more resources which is why we want to get this system in place,” said Lt. Evans.

Last year, the department’s average response time was 4 minutes.  Lt. Evans said he believes the the technology would help lower that, “I think it will.  Just so we don’t have to worry about getting around traffic that is stopped fora traffic light, or worry about cross traffic when we know we have the green light.”

If city council approves the plan it would be a three year trial run, costing the city $60,000, and could be implemented in as little as six to eight months.


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