DFD’s new Quint 4 reduces emissions and can alert drivers when approaching
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The Duluth Fire Department recently put a new Quint 4 apparatus into service with two features unique to the vehicle.
“One is the HAAS safety cloud. It’s an alerting system that alerts drivers that are using the Apple maps or if you’re using Waze or if you have a Jeep, Chrysler or Dodge make, that’s 2008 or newer, this system will actually alert you when the fire truck is approaching you,” explained Deputy Chief Mike Consie. “So it calculates rates to determine if the fire truck and your vehicle will actually intersect, whether it’s head on or to the side and it alerts the driver, it will tone down your stereo and it will actually pop up an alert saying ‘warning, emergency vehicle approaching’.”
Once the Quint 4 arrives on scene and is placed in park, the vehicle automatically will set a geofence up around it.
“Any vehicle that’s going to be intersecting that fire truck or that scene is alerted that there’s an emergency scene ahead,” said Consie. “And what that does for us, especially on I-35, is really important for us to slow drivers down, to reduce accidents and fatalities. We also are excited about it from the standpoint that it helps our community be alerted and not be surprised when we pop up on them, because with the vehicles being more soundproof now, it’s a little bit harder to hear our sirens. So we’re really excited about this feature. We think it’s going to help our community be a little bit safer and be us also a little bit safer.”
The Duluth Fire Department hopes to eventually retrofit their current vehicles with this new technology.
“One benefit is that as we get this and more apparatus, we can upgrade the software and the technology to do responder learning. So when two fire trucks are going to intersect each other, it will actually flash and tell you that there’s an emergency vehicle approaching from this side,” said Consie. “This is just one more layer that prevents accidental collision with fire apparatus.”
This alert system has been proven to work in other areas, saving lives.
“Grand Rapids, Michigan had a huge problem with collisions on the interstate,” Concise said. “Right before they put this into their vehicles, they were actually looking at buying just cheap fire trucks that are like used somewhere, and they would run to fire trucks on scene and use one for a blocking agent. But now with the institution of the system, they don’t actually need that extra blocking edge, and it’s greatly reduced their near misses on the freeway.”
The second key feature new to Duluth Fire Department is idle reduction technology.
“A lot of people have their passenger vehicles where when you pull up to a stop sign and you’re stopped for a certain amount of time, it will shut the engine off and it will run on batteries,” Concise explained. “This vehicle here, about approximately 5 minutes from it being on scene, will shut down and will run on the lithium ion batteries that are on board.”
With these rechargeable batteries, Quint 4 can run for 1-2 hours in idle mode.
“It does have a few caveats where if you’re using the ladder or if you have it in pump, obviously it won’t shut off to go to the battery because of the amount of energy that’s needed for it,” said Consie. “But it’s more for the times when we’re responding to things like medicals or car accidents or something where we might not actually need the pumper ladder. It’ll reduce emissions by kicking in.”
In addition to the alert system and idle reduction technology, the new vehicle has a lighter ladder system and weighs around 7,000 pounds less than the older Quint it replaced.