Sweden's Ambulances Can Block Your Radio Signal

Pull to the right or lose your Taylor Swift privileges.

Matt Cardy/2017 Getty Images

For first responders, cutting through traffic to a call can be a daunting task. As a longtime Emergency Medical Technician, I can confirm that the advance sound deadening and NVH tech in newer vehicles may make for a peaceful ride for you, but it's not doing emergency services any favors. I utilize a Magnum Dual 200-watt siren with a Rumbler in my ambulance, and drivers still don’t hear me.

Sweden, as ever, has a solution. Three students from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have invented a program that jams FM radio waves in civilian vehicles and warns them of an approaching ambulance or firetruck. Mikael Erneberg, cofounder of Evam System, says this invention will allow civilian traffic ample time to take note of and yield to emergency vehicles.

Erneberg and his colleagues set out to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents associated with emergency vehicle operations and the short time frame in which people recognize and react to an approaching emergency vehicle. The more notice a civilian has to safely yield, the less stress and danger is associated with emergency vehicle operations.

According to Evam System, the device will also block the use of auxiliary cords and Bluetooth. So the vast majority of time in which a car’s speakers are on, an approaching emergency vehicle is able to deliver a warning. However, rather than just cutting out music, the device also gives voice alerts stating an emergency vehicle is approaching. The voice prompts are set to occur at varying times depending on traffic and how long it will take someone to safely yield.

This genius device is currently being tested in Stockholm but Evam System plans to expand usage in the near future. Until then, I guess we need to rely on the air horn and PA system in the states.