• Special to the Daily Leader
A new technology has been developed for emergency vehicle use that enhances the siren tone. This equipment works in conjunction with the existing siren and emits a low frequency tone with a high bass. According to Liberal Chief of Police Al Sill, it is known as a Howler.
“This combination allows the sound waves to better penetrate vehicles so that oncoming motorists are alerted of emergency vehicles,” Sill explained Tuesday in a press release. “The purpose of this technology is to primarily help clear intersections to reduce the risks of collisions as emergency vehicles respond to scenes.
Sill noted this technology is relatively new, but a number of agencies are already equipping their vehicles with Howlers in an effort to reduce collisions.
“This has always been a major concern because many times, the siren alone is not heard by motorists in time for them to get out of the way of oncoming emergency vehicles,” Sill said.
“The accompanying photo shows a wreck involving one of our cars some years back,” he continued. “This wreck occurred as a result of an oncoming motorist not hearing the siren and not yielding the right of way. We have seen times when multiple emergency vehicles approach the same intersection from different directions, but they are unable to hear each other’s siren over their own siren.
“With this new technology, you can not only hear the tone better, but can feel the bass,” Sill noted. “We looked into these sirens and purchased four of them on an experimental basis. The money we purchased them with came from money we were awarded from participating in the KDOT S.T.E.P. (Special Traffic Enforcement Program). The units cost $450 each, $1,800 total for the four.”
Sill added the department plans to debut the Howler sirens in this year’s Pancake Day Parade that starts at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
More information is available on the manufacturer’s Web site at www.whelen.com.