In November 2009, EMSA released a press release regarding their new Howler sirens from Whelen Engineering. This technology emits a low-frequency tone that causes objects to reverberate, and when combined as a supplement to their existing audible warning devices, reduced their EMVA accidents by 50% over a year’s period of time.
I personally got to “experience” one of these devices on an ambulance at a different EMS agency and let me tell you, it does what it advertises. While I have never experienced that mystical “urban legend” sound that causes people to go involuntarily “code brown”, this is about as close as it gets….it resembles feeling those cars drive by with over amped music and bass blaring that could deafen the deaf….an effective means to get attention in my opinion.
Read more about EMSA’s successes below. While more research is needed to truly determine if this device is the causation behind a reduction in EMVA’s, it’s certainly worth looking more into for your organization’s next ambulance spec.