Upgraded system could improve emergency response times in Midland

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The Midland Fire Department is hoping to get an upgrade to its Opticom systems.

The system operates a series of transmitters and receivers that signal traffic lights when an emergency vehicle is approaching so that lights can quickly and safely provide them the right of way.

The fire department currently has an Opticom system, but officials tell us it is over 20 years old and outdated technology.

The new upgrade would install transmitters on every emergency response vehicle from ambulances to fire engines, as well as receivers at 85 heavy traffic intersections across the city.

Officials, like Assistant Chief Brian McGary, say in a service where time is everything, giving yourself every advantage is important.

"Time is of the essence, it can be the difference of having a small room-and-contents-fire or having a full blown structure fire that gets into the attic," says McGary.

The upgrade of the Opticom system is not yet a done deal.

Opticom is only part of a bigger project called the "communication ring" that looks to improve several radio-based systems across the city.

Half of the "communication ring" project has been approved for funding by the city from Midland City Council, the other half is expected to be funded by the Midland Development Corporation which has yet to vote on the matter.

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