Firefighter invents device to prevent fire truck backing accidents
The "BackSafe" system is now ready for market and allows a driver and spotter to communicate by color code over two wireless devices
ST. PAUL, Minn. — It's a concern every time a fire truck or ambulance goes in reverse. Responders are careful and vigilant, taking precautions not to back over somebody or something.
To do the job safely, St. Paul fire crews rely on hand signals between a driver and a spotter, but that method can also have its limitations and concerns. Each year trucks that are backing up cause around 20,000 injuries and more than 100 fatalities in the U.S. "They’re hard to see, you have a lot of miscommunications and delayed reaction times," fire captain Jovan Palmieri explained.
That's why the St. Paul firefighter began tinkering for a better way. Palmieri’s first prototype won the grand prize at the 2010 Minnesota Inventor's Congress Expo. Since 1958, the expo has been held to judge innovative ideas that can be patented and produced for market.