Ballston ambulance emits low-pitch signal to get drivers' attention

July 12, 2018 06:03 PM

BALLSTON - You can hear, see and feel Community Emergency Corps unit 1354 when it rolls up behind you.

"It tends to get people to pay attention," laughed paramedic Tom Moran about the squad's newest rig that's equipped with a "Howler."  It's an additional low pitch signal that can be sounded whenever the lights and siren are switched on for a priority call. It's similar to when you pull up next to a car at a stop light with heavy bass.

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"By letting people know where we are, it gives an extra second or two to decide to move over and let us through."

While the Howler can be turned on for any call, it's most effective in cities. It reverberates off the buildings and vehicle congestion - and noise - in urban areas makes a collision more likely.

"If I need to use it, it's a very nice tool to get people's attention so I can transport safely."

And while there's no guarantee it could have prevented the crash in Albany that tipped a Mohawk ambulance on its side, it's just one more warning to motorists to yield to emergency vehicles.

"It's absolutely critical, because if we don't get to a scene and get a patient to the hospital, it kind of defeats the purpose," added Moran.

NewsChannel 13 has an important update to the Mohawk Ambulance crash. We learned late Thursday afternoon that the driver of the ambulance was fired. It's unclear why, because the driver of the car was ticketed at the scene of the crash Wednesday and when NewsChannel 13 checked with Albany Police on Thursday, we were told the dash cam video was reviewed and the case is closed without any additional charges.

A statement from Mohawk indicates the company does not comment publicly on personnel issues.


Abigail Bleck

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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