As technology continues to improve and evolve, so does the options for your emergency vehicle[s]. With the fire service significantly governed by the NFPA, the EMS and ambulance market regulated by the standards outlined in the KKK certifications it leaves little to no standards outline for the law enforcement community.
First, before we go too far, I realize that the CanTrol may not be for every fleet or every application, but it is a significant improvement to older systems, and the safety factor is undeniable.
Most police and fire departments utilize the Whelen 295, or something comparable, and although that unit is an excellent baseline if you're looking to do more, look no further than the CanTrol. Although it appears this product was designed with the law enforcement community in mind, the CanTrol is huge for the fire service. I'm not suggesting they put this in large apparatus, although it would work great. CanTrol would be a perfect option for small utility vehicles, squads and command vehicles, and I'll explain more later in the blog.
First I wanted to cover law enforcement, and in the coming weeks we'll have some videos and more pictures posted as one of our customers has just purchased one. First let me explain more about the system. CanTrol is a complete lighting system control, with built in load manager, timer for weapon locks, time delay turn off for lights and other ancillary systems such as modems, computers and radar units as well as a voltage monitoring system. The voltage monitoring system can turn off systems as voltage drops, be programed to a remote start to turn the vehicle back on and sound an alarm should the voltage reach an level that could prevent cranking.
CanTrol is also a great option for K9 setups, just about eliminating any need for a "hot-n-pop" system. With the add on of a temperature sensor, the system can sense temperature and at a determined temperature, say 80 degrees the windows roll down and a fan is turned on. If the temperature continues to raise, the horn may beep twice and the light bar can flash momentarily. Should the vehicle reach the maximum determined temperature, the system could sound a continuous alarm or siren tone until the problem was addressed while turning all the warning lights on.
Some of the other exciting options involve some features that you just can't achieve with other systems. An officer is in a pursuit, other cars fall in line behind. Wouldn't it be a great feature if during night time operations the rear lights were dimmed to low power so following officers had a better view. What about having rear lights flash when the brake light was applied, or hide away in the brake lights turn steady burn. Options like having a traffic advisor follow the turn signal direction are also available with this. Now for the real amazing features. With a speed sensor applied to the system, should the vehicle speed reach over 85 the lights could be programed to come on in pursuit mode, possibly preventing any liability on the department. During a pursuit mode, if the brake was depressed the siren tone could be changed as well as the lighting pattern, or the howler activated.
Placing the vehicle in park could tell the system to slow the lighting pattern to a slow warn, something we suspect will be coming in the near future. Park kill also can turn off the siren, and if so equipped turn the light bar takedowns on. When the officer opens their door to step out, with the warning lights enabled, the corner modules could be temporarily turned off preventing the officer from being blinded. Another feature several customers have asked about, more secure means to unlock weapons. Traditional weapons timers only require one push button. With CanTrol, the officer could be required to hold a push button on the controller, or placed discreetly in the dash, while depressing the brake, or even the defrost button.
Now how about the fire service.
Well first, let’s touch on some requirements of NFPA. The biggest one is the requirement that once placed in park, all forward facing white lights are to be turned off. The reality is, this applies not only to large apparatus, but to squads and command vehicles. Not only can this system make you NFPA compliant, but can also take scene lighting and allow it to be augmented as warning lights. For those departments operating on busy roads, or can suffer heavy fog, snow or rain programs can be added that slow lights down so that drivers aren’t blinded or disoriented. This is something we see DOT vehicles across the country doing. The Load Manager system is a great addition to command vehicles that often need multiple radios, computers and modems to allow officers to do their job more effectively. As a firefighter myself, I can say that nothing sucks more than coming back to a dead vehicle because the computer was left on at 3am.
Although the cost of the system initially is high, the saving from increased safety and efficiency are huge. A system like this should be considered on your next build, and BUSH is one of the only certified CanTrol dealers in upstate. We can agree that this system may not be for everyone, but they capabilities can make you rethink all the other systems you need to purchase that with this, you’d no longer need to. The cost differential isn’t nearly as high as you think.