Foxborough Fire piloting mobile phone alert system for drivers

Foxborough Fire piloting mobile phone alert system for drivers

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Every time Foxborough firefighters head out to a call, their lives are on the line.

To help protect their firefighters, who often respond to emergency calls on I-95 and I-495, the Foxborough Fire Department just started a new pilot program.

"Unfortunately, over the past 10-15 years, we've had high-profile incidents where public safety have been killed in just this area," Assistant Chief Thomas Buckley said. "People do not slow down. That’s reality. We've had misses in the past and those are the scariest calls we have."

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The department is testing out a program called HAAS alert. It works by sending a real-time notification to your cell phone based on GPS.

It will alert you of when emergency vehicles are approaching or are on-scene through the WAZE mobile app.

"You can think of it as a digital siren of sorts, so where motorists will typically hear sirens and look for lights, HAAS alert gives them more time through the application navigations they’re already using," HAAS head of operations Noah Levens said.

HAAS Alert is being piloted by Foxborough fire in two vehicles, an ambulance and fire truck.

"People are driving by, videoing us talk about distracted driving. It’s amazing to see people do that if there is an accident scene. They have their phones out. It is scary for us to be out there on the highway," Asst. Chief Buckley said. "We go to an accident scene or anything on the highway, our eyes are not on the highway. We’re dealing with the incident that we’re dealing with, so to be able to notify someone driving up on us because there is nobody standing there watching traffic on our side."

Besides Foxborough, the other fire departments testing the app in Massachusetts are Quincy, Peabody and Plainville.