Emergency vehicle preemption system to be installed at fire station

An emergency vehicle preemption system, found on most Coon Rapids traffic signals, will soon be installed at Coon Rapids Fire Station 3.

The Coon Rapids City Council July 15 authorized the installation of a button at the fire station, which is located on 113th Avenue, to trigger the EVP system on the traffic signal at 113th Avenue and Crooked Lake Boulevard a block away.

The $12,000 cost of the purchase and installation of the EVP system, although not budgeted for 2014, will be taken from the city’s facilities construction fund.

According to Stephanie Lincoln, city purchasing clerk, the goal of the EVP system is to improve response times and the safety of emergency responders and the public on the roads.

The system turns the signal light to green when activated by emergency vehicles, which allows same-direction traffic to clear the intersection prior to the emergency vehicle arriving, Lincoln wrote in a report to the council.

Right now, when a fire truck departs Fire Station 3 in the direction of the 113th Avenue and Crooked Lake Boulevard signalized intersection, activating the EVP system, the truck gets to the intersection before the light turns green because of the short distance from the fire station, she wrote.

“This creates a safety issue as the fire trucks are entering the intersection when the light is still red and the traffic hasn’t been allowed to clear,” Lincoln wrote.

Installing an EVP button inside the fire station will solve the problem because firefighters can push the button to trigger the EVP prior to leaving the station on an emergency call, giving traffic a chance to clear the intersection on the green light, according to Lincoln.

There is a similar EVP system in place at Fire Station 1 because of its close proximity to the intersection at Coon Rapids and Egret boulevards, Lincoln told the council.