Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Image: Submitted/Welsford Volunteer Fire Department

Welsford fire crews deliver real-time alerts to drivers

By Brad Perry Feb 13, 2024 | 3:12 PM

Firefighters in one New Brunswick community are using more than lights and sirens to make their presence known.

The Welsford Volunteer Fire Department has become one of the first departments in the province to use Safety Cloud.

The system delivers real-time alerts to drivers when the fire department is active in their area.

Fire Chief David MacCready said transponders on their vehicles are activated whenever the emergency lights are turned on.

“It alerts drivers when they’re approaching an emergency vehicle or when an emergency vehicle is approaching them,” MacCready said in an interview.

MacCready said the idea behind purchasing the technology is to help keep his firefighters and the public safe.

About 40 per cent of Welsford Fire’s emergency responses in 2023 were to motor vehicle collision on Route 7.

“It’s very hilly, a lot of blind turns, so when I discovered this system, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said the chief.

“We have a lot of close calls with drivers not slowing down or adhering to the Move Over law, so hopefully this will give as many drivers as we can a bit of a heads up when they’re approaching an emergency incident.”

New Brunswick’s Move Over law requires drivers to move over when emergency responders and service vehicles have their flashing lights engaged and to slow down to a maximum of half the posted speed limit.

Safety Cloud provides about a 30-second or so warning for drivers and is said to reduce the risk of collisions by up to 90 per cent.

MacCready said if they need to close the highway, they can send an alert through the system so drivers can find out in advance.

Alerts are accessible through the Waze navigation app and Apple Maps, as well as through the Emergency Vehicle Alert System feature on newer models of Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, and Dodge vehicles.

MacCready said he would encourage other fire departments in the province to look at getting this technology.

“For a couple of thousand dollars for a subscription-based alert system as well as five transponders, it was a pretty easy decision to make.”