Emergency Vehicle Warning System – Function and Features

An emergency vehicle warning system is an activated flashing beacon supported by a W11-8 sign to let motorists know when an emergency vehicle is in the process of leaving its parking bay and entering traffic. In the traffic industry, these systems are sometimes called Emergency Vehicle Caution Systems (EVCS), and are crucial to maintaining safety on the roadways outside of public service facilities.

At ELTEC we design and manufacture the EVCS using amber flashing LEDs, requiring cars to use caution in the immediate area where the emergency vehicles are entering the street. The poles, located on the street curbs, can be configured with one or two yellow signals. The power source may be either solar powered (DC) or from the power grid (AC).

The EVCS works in the following manner: As an emergency vehicle is proceeding to depart from its parked location in a bay or station, the warning system is activated by the staff using either handheld transmitters placed in each vehicle, or by a (large) push button mounted in the center of a cabinet. Generally, the wall mounted cabinet is installed close to the exit door. Both activation methods send a signal to triggering yellow (caution) pole mounted flashing beacon(s). By activating them only when the fire truck or ambulance is exiting, it makes the signal(s) highly visible to drivers on the street.

Wireless Radio Systems

With each wireless radio, a unique address code is programmed into each transmitter and receiver so that more than one pole site can be activated at the same time. Only the matching code can activate the receivers. An assigned address code is set to match multiple receivers. Should the emergency vehicle caution system have multiple flashing beacon sites including warning poles, all are activated instantly with a push of a button. Additional, signal poles can be positioned down the road from the station to provide advanced warning. Advance warning signals are generally used when the street is curved or there is a hill obstructing the view ahead.

Once activated, the signal(s) remain ON for a preset period of time. The flash duration is user adjustable (1 second to 100 hours).

The options available to activate the flashing beacons of the EVCS include:

  • Wall mounted cabinet with push button in building
  • Emitter (light or infrared signal) to receiver
  • Hand-held transmitter

Installing the EVCS Emergency Vehicle Warning System

The installation includes an AC powered centrally located cabinet in the station. From the cabinet, cabling and the antenna are generally mounted on the roof of the fire station. On the street, two or more poles each support a pole mounted cabinet that contains the electronic controls. These include a receiver, flasher and timer. With solar powered (DC) systems, a pole-mounted solar panel, battery and charge controller are included. By using radios for wireless communication from the station to each pole, no boring or trenching is required in order to connect signals to the activation point in the station. Each system design is tailored to the street layout and other project requirements.

For additional information about purchasing an emergency vehicle warning system visit our website or call 1-800-227-1734 to speak with a representative!