Emergency responders offer new ways to alert drivers they’re on the road, using ‘lights and sirens we’ve had for decades’

What if you could get a real-time alert in your car as soon as a nearby fire truck turns on its emergency lights? New technology is now making that a reality.

HAAS Alert’s Safety Cloud partners with 3,600 agencies across the U.S. to provide digital alerts to drivers, warning them of any emergency vehicles ahead.

Tow trucks, ambulances, law enforcement and utility workers can all utilize the alert system.

“(These are) lights and sirens we’ve had for decades and decades and decades,” HAAS Alert CEO and founder Cory Hohs said. “And this is the first time we’re able to start using something like digital learning to communicate what’s happening on the roadway to vehicles for safety.”

Originally, the digital alert system would only notify drivers actively using navigation apps such as Waze and Apple Maps. But now, Hohs says his company is working directly with car manufacturers.

HAAS Alert Safety Cloud example

Any vehicle made by Stellantis in 2018 or later already come fully equipped with the technology.

“The way Stellantis did it, is that they rolled it out so that even vehicles that you may have owned in 2018, all of a sudden, you start receiving safety notifications without having to pay anything extra, without having to bring your car to the dealer. It’s all done through software over the air,” Hohs said.

When an emergency vehicle is nearby, whether it’s approaching or stopped on the side of the road, a notification will appear on the car’s infotainment system.

Hohs said most emergency vehicles now come equipped with the software.

“If anyone in any city across the country is buying a new emergency vehicle … roadway work equipment, whatever it is, the broadcasting is already on the truck,” Hohs said.

In the D.C. area, HAAS Alert’s Safety Cloud is used by nearly 40 customers including DC Fire & EMS, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Hanover County Fire Department, Concrete General and Richmond Ambulance Authority.

HAAS Alert Safety Cloud explained

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Grace Newton

Grace Newton is an Associate Producer at WTOP. She also works as an associate producer for NPR Newscast. Grace was born and raised in North Carolina but has lived in D.C. since 2018. Grace graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in art history in 2022.

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