Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics Heather Ryall, left, and Kristen Key stand in front of one of seven ambulances already fitted with new blue lights in combination with red, to provide better visibility.
Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star
The region’s ambulances are switching to flashing blue lights — a boost to visibility and safety.Seven ambulances in the Essex-Windsor EMS fleet have already added blue lights, replacing the old red-and-white combination with red-and-blue, making them easier for the public to notice.“For visibility for the motoring public to see our vehicles both when we’re responding to a call and when we’re stationary at a scene,” said Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter. “So if you come upon them you can see them, so you know to slow down and move over to give us room to work.”
Seven Essex-Windsor EMS ambulances have already been fitted with blue emergency lights mixed with red lights.
Nick Brancaccio /
A news release said red lights can blend in with vehicle brake lights and standard traffic signals, while blue lights stand out more than red or white, both during the day and at night.“In the day time the white lights kind of get washed out, obviously with the daylight and sun,” Krauter said. “Then at night time, they tend to get washed out as well with headlights and street lights and regular signage.”Along with the colour change, Essex-Windsor EMS will replace the light bar on ambulances with in-box lights mounted directly into the vehicle body. Krauter said they are more efficient, easier to keep clean and less expensive to repair.The colour shift comes nearly a year after Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act made amendments allowing for ambulances and fire trucks to use blue lights. Previously only police vehicles were authorized.While there are seven trucks sporting the new colour combination already, Essex-Windsor EMS will move to red and blue as they replace vehicles, hoping to have the entire fleet switched in the next five years.“It just provides that extra piece of safety for the motoring public, for the paramedics, and most importantly for the patients that we transport,” Krauter firstname.lastname@example.org