Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service launches emergency vehicle pre-emption pilot

Released: April 12, 2024 at 10:02 a.m.
Technology expected to improve response times and make roads safer for residents and responders

Winnipeg, MB – This week, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS), launched a pilot project to evaluate the benefits of emergency vehicle pre-emption (EVP) technology.

EVP is used by first responder agencies to reduce the time it takes to get to time-critical calls, while also improving the safety of residents and responders by reducing the risk of traffic collisions. The technology has been installed at 17 intersections along Osborne Street and several other intersections in the area.

Ambulances and fire trucks that regularly respond to emergencies along that corridor are equipped with transponders that can automatically trigger green lights in their direction of travel. This gives drivers on the road the opportunity to move out of the way of approaching emergency vehicles in a quick and efficient manner. The traffic lights will return to their normal operations after two light cycles.

“Our crews respond to medical and fire emergencies where minutes and seconds matter,” said Chief Christian Schmidt. “We are hopeful that the results from the pilot will show that EVP technology can help us to provide even more efficient service to Winnipeggers, while also making our roadways safer.”

The 2020 WFPS Master Plan and the City’s most recent Fire Underwriters Survey both recommended EVP as a way to improve safety and maintain response times while allowing crews to provide service to a greater area. A subsequent feasibility study conducted in 2022 found that EVP could potentially reduce response times in Winnipeg by up to 20 percent and reduce the number of collisions involving emergency vehicles by 25 percent. The study also predicted that EVP could help to improve patient outcomes, reducing health care costs.

After the EVP pilot project is complete in March 2025, the WFPS and the City’s Signals branch will evaluate the system and its benefits, and prepare a report outlining potential next steps.

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