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Traffic Preemption Devices Enhance SGMC Ambulance Response Time, Saving Lives

Posted on: June 12th, 2023

South Georgia Medical Center is adding state-of-the-art traffic preemption devices to each of its ambulances in an effort to improve emergency response times and save lives.  

Generous donations to the SGMC Foundation recently funded the technology that takes advantage of the City of Valdosta’s Emergency Vehicle Preemption System. These devices utilize GPS tracking of responding emergency vehicles to turn a traffic signal green as they approach, ensuring a swift and safe arrival at their destination. 

The top priority of SGMC Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the safety of its employees and the driving and pedestrian public when responding to 911 calls. However, emergency vehicles face challenges each time they approach a traffic signal, particularly due to distracted drivers. 

This next-generation technology makes it safer for ambulances going through intersections by proactively changing the signal before it arrives, eliminating the need to catch drivers’ attention at traffic lights.   

In addition to road safety, the devices have the benefit of reducing EMS response times by an average of 11 seconds per traffic light. This critical time saved can significantly impact the outcomes of medical emergencies. A faster arrival on the scene can mean the difference between life and death, particularly in situations such as cardiac arrest, severe trauma, or stroke. 

“We are so grateful for the funds from the SGMC Foundation to purchase these traffic preemption devices and the partnership with the City of Valdosta to allow us to participate in the program,” shared Michael Colman, SGMC EMS Chief. “This innovative technology makes ambulance responses safer for everyone.” 

Drivers on the road may notice a shorter light at an intersection if an ambulance is approaching with lights and sirens. However, the light will reset to normal operations once the emergency vehicle passes through. 

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