Oklahoma’s largest ambulance company will become the first ambulance service in the nation to outfit its entire fleet with new Howler sirens, designed to emit low-frequency tones that drivers can feel as well as hear, reports the Tulsa World. The sirens penetrate objects within 200 feet, including cars. “It’s kind of like the car that’s playing the loud R&B rap music and you can kind of feel it vibrating,” said a spokeswoman for Tulsa’s Emergency Medical Services Authority. It has equipped one ambulance with the new siren and plans to have them installed on all 77 units within six months.
Adding the low-frequency siren to the mix will cost less than $400 for each ambulance. So far this year, EMSA ambulances have had 16 collisions, 15 of which occurred while responding to calls. The added alert should result in fewer of those accidents and faster response times, said Jeff Busch, regional sales manager of Whelen Engineering, which manufactures the Howler sirens. After a month-long trial run, Tulsa EMSA officials say both drivers and pedestrians react differently to the Howler.