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Radio Alert Transmitter

As former officers, the people at Alert Technologies understand the issues and the facts that emergency responders face in real situations. I’ll never forget one pursuit of a felon driving a stolen vehicle. With lights and sirens, we were in pursuit, trying to keep it as safe as possible. But the suspect, with no regard for anyone else’s safety, ran a red light.

A woman in a car with a child in a car seat in the back was approaching the intersection, listening to the radio on her way home, and she had the green light. She never heard the sirens or saw anything coming. There was a catastrophic accident. You, too, may know of a story like this one. This could have been prevented.

The Radio Alert Transmitter 582, when installed and activated simultaneously with the siren, will alert drivers of oncoming emergency vehicles by transmitting a message over the AM / FM band radio interrupting the radio broadcast inside the vehicle.

In two recent years, 156 people died in cars colliding with an emergency vehicle that had lights flashing and / or sirens activated in the United States. According to the Department of Transportation, almost 12,000 were injured. Officers, firefighters and ambulance drivers know the dangers to the public and themselves as first responders to an emergency.

Today, the risks have become greater as car manufacturers make more and more soundproof vehicles and tinted windows, while drivers are distracted by music and cell phones. Lights and sirens just aren’t enough to alert drivers anymore.

The idea for a better warning system to alert drivers of oncoming emergency vehicles came from the company’s founder, former Massachusetts State Trooper George Derome.  He narrowly escaped death and suffered serious injury after a car struck him as he secured an accident scene. It was during Derome’s perseverance and recuperation that he came up with the idea for the Radio Alert Transmitter 582 in 1999.

With five years in development and testing, the device is now U.S. patented with Canadian and International patents pending and is designed to meet FCC and CRTC regulations.

Here’s how it works: the Radio Alert Transmitter is installed easily in an emergency vehicle and is activated by the siren to transmit a tone and voice message to vehicle radios up to 1,000 feet. Drivers hear an interruption in their car radio broadcast with the brief transmission alerting them of oncoming emergency vehicles with enough time to get out of the way. Then the broadcast returns to the radio station.

The message could be “Warning… approaching emergency vehicle!” The alert message can be custom-recorded to suit individual departments. The transmitter operates only while the vehicle siren and / or flashing lights are operating and turns off automatically within nine seconds of the vehicle stop.

This technology, developed by former officers at Alert Technologies, is in the final stages of FCC approval. Each unit costs under $1,000. The Radio Alert Transmitter has the support of many police and fire departments including the endorsement of the Massachusetts Police Chief’s Association and the New Hampshire State Police.

Tom Macone is a former officer with the Somerville, MA, Police and is currently the president of ATI Corporation. He may be reached via e-mail at

Published in Law and Order, Mar 2004

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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