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Springfield Fire Department asking for devices to control traffic signals

Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs said Springfield has not seen traffic light technology to this degree. (WICS)

The fire department is asking for $105,000 to pay for traffic signal control devices.

This would turn lights green about a half mile before the fire truck gets to an intersection.

It would cut down response times, as well as prevent car crashes.

Springfield Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs said 16 intersections would see the device including at Wabash and Veterans.

Most intersections are in the southwest area of Springfield.

The average response time for a fire unit is three minutes and 45 seconds.

The average time to 12B, or the southwest area of Springfield, is seven minutes and 24 seconds.

Times decrease by about three minutes.

“Minutes are critical,” said Chief Helmerichs. “Especially when we're talking about cardiac events and severe EMS and also fire; minutes mean a lot."

The devices would be mounted on four fire trucks and connected to the intersections. The light controller would be linked to the truck’s GPS and turn signals to trigger the traffic signals.

"If the light turns green,” said one Springfield driver, Matt Humphrey. “Or the light turns red, [drivers] would obey that more than being able to listen or look for their surrounding sirens."

Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs said Springfield has not seen traffic light technology to this degree.

City Council will vote on the measure next week.

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