PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria first responders have formed a new Traffic Signal Preemption partnership for quicker response times.

In partnership with the city and Peoria Fire Department, all Advanced Medical Transport ambulances are now equipped with Opticon Systems, a device that automatically changes traffic signals to ‘green’ for ambulances during a ‘lights and siren response.’ An indicator on top of traffic lights will also start flashing as the ambulance approaches.

“Emergency vehicles have the ability to control the light, so that’s keeping the general public safe. It’s trying to control traffic flow so the emergency vehicles can get around traffic and get to where they are supposed to be,” said Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger.

Derrick Hahn, vice president of Advanced Medical Transport, said its “all about community and community safety.”

“We are really excited about this because what it does is help clear the intersection so emergency vehicles can go through those intersections and its safer for everybody. Its just safety and getting to the scene quicker, along with making sure our crews and the community that we serve are safe,” said Hahn.

Sollberger said the traffic signal preemption is “highly impactful” for better response times, “but only if the traffic flow is correct.” He reminded drivers to be mindful of the new change and to pull over to the right when they see an ambulance or fire truck with their lights flashing.

“It’s just general education and knowledge to the public. Controlling the light is one thing, traffic flow is another,” he said.

Opticon Systems is installed in 109 traffic lights across Peoria, with more to come during the five-year partnership, said Sollberger.