News

Interview with Dave Gross | ITS World Congress 2017

Canada's ITS-TV on 11/1/17

At the 2017, ITS World Congress in Montreal, ITS TV is joined in the studio by the CEO of Collision Control Communications, Dave Gross. We learn all about the Eliminator and how this it is going to change major aspects of transportation for emergency vehicles in big cities.


Fire Chief Magazine

Crossing Guard: Excerpts from article in the November 2007 issue of Fire Chief Magazine (published with permission)

Many cities across the United States have experienced an increase in emergency vehicle accidents. These accidents can be attributed to departmental training issues, misunderstanding of the right-of-way laws for emergency vehicles, better soundproofing of vehicles, and increased traffic volumes, among other factors.

But departments also have experienced an increase in the number of apparatus-to-apparatus collisions at intersections. Today's technology can help prevent these accidents, assuming a firefighter's seatbelt is properly used, and control traffic signals from inside the cab with preemption technologies.

Most of these technologies use an infrared beam to trigger traffic signal preemption. Using these line-of-sight preemption technologies has its drawbacks. Anything that obstructs visibility will similarly diminish the ability of these systems to reliably preempt traffic signals. Weather phenomena such as fog, rain, snow and dust storms can reduce the range of these systems. Other obstacles may include large vehicles such as semis and buses. Curves in the roadway, buildings, bridges or foliage also may lie along a direct line of sight between an approaching emergency vehicle and traffic signals.

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Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly Articles

Company creates improved system so emergency vehicles can weave through traffic

Excerpts from front page article in October 16, 2006 issue of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly (published with permission)

Dave Gross was stuck in heavily congested traffic the day after Thanksgiving several years ago at a Coliseum Boulevard intersection near the Glenbrook Square mall in Fort Wayne when he saw an ambulance trying to work its way through.

With cars and trucks unable to move to the side to clear a path for it, "you could only wonder whether somebody was in the back of the ambulance dying of a heart attack," he said. It took about five minutes for the ambulance to clear the intersection.

Even when the lights atop emergency vehicles are equipped with strobe equipment that can change traffic lights to let them through, that equipment relies on an optical signal that can be blocked by a bus, a semi trailer, tree limbs, even fog, Gross said.

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Eliminator™ gets real-world test

Excerpts from front page article in June 15, 2007 issue of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly (published with permission)

Stoplights at two of the busiest intersections of Indianapolis have been upgraded with Fort Wayne equipment that could keep traffic flowing no matter what kind of obstacle there is between the traffic signals and an emergency vehicle.

The special equipment invented by Dave Gross, founder of Collision Control Communications, is called “the Eliminator” because it can eliminate traffic congestion that slows down an emergency response.

Traffic signals in Indianapolis were upgraded on West Street where it intersects Maryland Street near the RCA Dome and Washington Street near U.S. 40. The equipment also is about to be installed on a fire engine.

The installation follows months of testing at a traffic-signal shop, where the Eliminator passed with flying colors.

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IMSA (International Municipal Signal Association)

IMSA Conference

Collision Control Communications, Inc. displayed the Eliminator at the International Municipal Signal Association national conference in Orlando, Florida August 23 – 25, 2009.

IMSA Article

The following article appeared in the July/August issue of the IMSA Journal (New products section, page 53) written by Dave Gross, President/CEO Collision Control Communications, Inc. Published with permission.

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Indianapolis, Indiana Prototype Installation

In the fall of 2004, Indiana Senator Tom Wyss met with the President of Collision Control Communications for several hours and quickly developed an interest in the Eliminator™ technology (particularly its security features). The Senator was instrumental in facilitating a meeting with officials representing the City of Indianapolis (Dudley Taylor/Battalion Fire Chief and Lenny Adair/Traffic Signal Department) that led to an initial agreement between Collision Control Communications, Inc. and the City of Indianapolis regarding demonstration of prototypes using the traffic signal at the intersection of Ohio and West Streets, and City emergency vehicles.

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Northeast Indiana Innovation Awards

Collision Control Communications, Inc. was awarded runner-up for “Best Emerging Company” in the 2006 Innovation Awards competition.


FDIC Conference

Collision Control Communications, Inc. first unveiled the Eliminator™ to the public safety community at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis. In addition to the Indianapolis Fire Department hosting the FDIC at Lucas Oil Stadium, they are also the beta test city for the Eliminator. Traffic signals in the beta test corridor include the intersections of West and Washington and West and Maryland near Lucas Oil Stadium, with vehicle devices installed on Engine 13 and Ladder 13. (www.fdic.com)

Pictured to the right: Dave Gross/CCC, Inc. President & CEO, Tom Manny/Fort Wayne Traffic Systems Director (retired)/CCC, Inc. Consultant, Marsha Henney/CCC, Inc., Dan Newport/Fire Department Captain/CCC, Inc. Consultant.

Crossing Guard: Excerpts from article in the November 2007 issue of Fire Chief Magazine (published with permission)

BY Dave Gross, President/CEO Collision Control Communications, Inc.

Many cities across the United States have experienced an increase in emergency vehicle accidents. These accidents can be attributed to departmental training issues, misunderstanding of the right-of-way laws for emergency vehicles, better soundproofing of vehicles, and increased traffic volumes, among other factors.

But departments also have experienced an increase in the number of apparatus-to-apparatus collisions at intersections. Today's technology can help prevent these accidents, assuming a firefighter's seatbelt is properly used, and control traffic signals from inside the cab with preemption technologies.

Most of these technologies use an infrared beam to trigger traffic signal preemption. Using these line-of-sight preemption technologies has its drawbacks. Anything that obstructs visibility will similarly diminish the ability of these systems to reliably preempt traffic signals. Weather phenomena such as fog, rain, snow and dust storms can reduce the range of these systems. Other obstacles may include large vehicles such as semis and buses. Curves in the roadway, buildings, bridges or foliage also may lie along a direct line of sight between an approaching emergency vehicle and traffic signals.

GPS preemption systems recently have been introduced to overcome line-of-sight concerns, but these bring a different set of problems inherent in global positioning. GPS users probably know that GPS requires satellite triangulation. This necessitates contact with satellites for the unit to know where it is. These systems must then be taught which surface areas of the roadway should trigger preemption. This can become a problem in the downtown areas of many metropolitan cities where one or more skyscrapers may hinder immediate satellite acquisition.

But now radio technology can be used to solve some of the nagging problems that have plagued firefighters and other emergency response personnel for quite some time. Battalion Chief Dudley Taylor and the Indianapolis Fire Department are testing and evaluating a new RF collision-avoidance technology at Fire Station 13 in the downtown area. That station's primary engine has the system installed and the station is awaiting the installation of the system to one of its aerial trucks. This RF-based system, designed by professors at Indiana University and Purdue University, will warn emergency-vehicle drivers of impending collisions with other similarly equipped vehicles. At the same time, this system also will protect from collisions with passenger vehicles by preempting traffic signals through the use of radio waves.

It is often difficult for the occupants of one emergency vehicle to hear the siren of another because of their own. And it is impossible to see around some blind intersections. Use of this radio technology would warn an emergency vehicle driver of an impending collision up to three-quarters of a mile in advance.

“The Bells & Whistles” (below) show one device, called the “Eliminator” that uses RF technology. Picture this device installed in the emergency vehicle within view of the driver or one of the crewmembers. When the technology senses a potential collision, an alarm gives audible and visual information relative to the threat. Distance to collision sensitivity can be set from a few hundred feet up to 4,000 feet. In the event of a collision impending directly from the right, for example, an alarm sounds and is followed by a prerecorded voice that announces a “collision alert at 3 o'clock.” The volume can be adjusted for the audible alarm and voice commands. At the same time, one of the 60 L.E.D.’s on the circular display of the collision avoidance screen will light to showing the direction of the threat relative to the direction of travel of the vehicle.

When traffic signals are preempted, the status light on the face of the device changes from red to green. The voice command also announces the preemption status. If the traffic signal is preempted in a rig's favor, the voice command announces “preemption active.” In the event where two or more emergency vehicles are competing to preempt the same traffic signal, vehicles that aren't given first priority of the intersection will again have the alarm sound, with the prerecorded voice saying “preemption pending.” The collision avoidance display also will show the direction of approach of all other emergency vehicles approaching the intersection.

On arrival at the scene, it is often necessary to exit the vehicle expediently and begin rendering assistance without having to remember to turn off the traffic signal preemption feature. When the three-position mode toggle switch is flipped up to auto mode, preemption automatically commences when the light bar is activated. The device automatically relinquishes preemption of nearby traffic signals to other emergency vehicles that may be approaching the scene. This is accomplished within the device that also monitors the transmission and parking-brake status. This allows the device to determine whether the emergency vehicle is stopped in traffic, still requiring preemption, or has arrived on scene, when preemption should be deactivated.

The technology has been adapted for use in other emergency vehicles as well. Often an unmarked police unit would need use of the preemption feature of the technology without announcing its presence by light bar or siren. In this case the mode switch can be switched to the manual position that will constantly preempt traffic signals until switched off.

The intent of all preemption systems is to help emergency vehicles respond to the scene as quickly and safely as possible. Preemption systems will continue to proliferate into all emergency vehicles to a point where the number of emergency vehicles responding to a given event increases the possibility for an accident between responding vehicles. Technologies like the one being tested by the Indianapolis Fire Department are going to continue to advance, making these systems safer and more robust.

THE BELLS & WHISTLES OF RF COLLISION CONTROL

The large circle in the center of the photo shows the collision-avoidance system display reading. The example here shows a collision impending directly from the right, as indicated by the yellow light. Simultaneously, voice commands from the device will alert the driver of the direction of the impending collision, in this case saying “collision alert at 3 o'clock.”

The rest of the display follows, from left to right:

STATUS INDICATOR

If the system has successfully preempted the traffic signal so that the on-coming emergency vehicle is guaranteed a green light, the status light will show green. If not, the status light will show red.

MODE THREE-POSITION TOGGLE SWITCH

This feature has L.E.D.’s that provide visual confirmation of mode setting to the right of the switch:

  • Auto Preemption is automatically engaged and disengaged based on light bar and transmission/parking brake status. Even when the siren and light bar are not activated, the audio and visual collision avoidance features remain operative.
  • Manual LED lights green when the toggle switch is in manual mode. Traffic signal preemption is constantly engaged, and both audio and visual collision avoidance features are operational.
  • Off LED lights red when the toggle switch is in off mode. In this mode, traffic signals are not preempted. Visual and audible collision alarms still remain operative unless the audio alarm toggle is in the off position.

AUDIO ALARM TWO-POSITION TOGGLE SWITCH

This feature allows the operator to manually silence the intrusive audible collision alarm. This is particularly useful if the system is used in an ambulance and has a heart-attack patient on board. On and off positions of this switch are visually confirmed by a green or red LED to the left of the switch.

AUDIO ALARM VOLUME KNOB

This is a rheostat that allows the operator to adjust the volume of the intrusive audible collision alarm, and voice commands which announce preemption status and collision avoidance vectors, if any, to the user.

Company creates improved system so emergency vehicles can weave through traffic

Excerpts from front page article in October 16, 2006 issue of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly (published with permission)

BY DOUG LEDUC - (Created: Sunday, October 15, 2006 6:38 AM EDT)

Dave Gross was stuck in heavily congested traffic the day after Thanksgiving several years ago at a Coliseum Boulevard intersection near the Glenbrook Square mall in Fort Wayne when he saw an ambulance trying to work its way through.

With cars and trucks unable to move to the side to clear a path for it, "you could only wonder whether somebody was in the back of the ambulance dying of a heart attack," he said. It took about five minutes for the ambulance to clear the intersection.

Even when the lights atop emergency vehicles are equipped with strobe equipment that can change traffic lights to let them through, that equipment relies on an optical signal that can be blocked by a bus, a semi trailer, tree limbs, even fog, Gross said.

That could soon change. Next week, fire-station vehicles in Indianapolis will start testing equipment Gross invented that will get them through traffic more quickly, with less chance of running into another emergency-response vehicle. The testing will take two to four weeks.

"We've crafted a deal with the city of Indianapolis to donate the technology," Gross said. "Any statistical data that can be gleaned from use of the device, we'd like to use for our marketing purposes. Also, we'd like to have the emergency vehicles available to TV camera crews for drive-alongs."

Gross' Eliminator™ system uses radio, rather than optical, signals to interact with traffic lights up to a mile away.

Prior to an emergency vehicle's arrival at intersections, traffic signals in its path recognize its approach and will turn green in its direction of travel, while displaying a red light to all other directions of traffic flow.

In the event that two or more emergency vehicles are on an impending collision course, the Eliminator will warn the vehicles when they get within a mile of each other via an audible alarm and a flashing display.

The display on the face of the Eliminator looks like a dial, and the position of one or more lights flashing at the circumference indicates the direction of approaching emergency vehicles within 6 degrees.

Gross formed Collision Control Communications to design and develop the technology and then patent and license it, spending most of his savings for retirement in the process.

He recruited Thomas Laverghetta, professor of computer science and broadcast technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2000 to begin the design work.

Eventually, an associate professor there and two additional design engineers were added to the team to design and develop working prototypes.

The Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice have taken an unusually keen interest in commercialization of the technology because they believe it could speed a large-scale response to an emergency caused by a terrorist attack, Gross said.

The Eliminator was among only a dozen technologies selected by the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization three years ago for a commercialization-planning workshop it held in Albuquerque, N.M.

Gross has patent rights for the technology in the United States and foreign countries, including Canada, and has discussed outsourcing production of the Eliminator to White Electronics in Fort Wayne.

But he hopes to license the technology to another company or group of companies, which would produce and market it. And he has arranged for Lagerman & Associates in Washington, D.C., to handle the licensing.

Collision Control has issued 100,000 shares of stock and has been selling it at $10 per share, he said.

Eliminator™ gets real-world test

Excerpts from front page article in June 15, 2007 issue of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly (published with permission)

BY DOUG LEDUC - (Created: Friday, June 15, 2007 8:25 AM EDT)

Stoplights at two of the busiest intersections of Indianapolis have been upgraded with Fort Wayne equipment that could keep traffic flowing no matter what kind of obstacle there is between the traffic signals and an emergency vehicle.

The special equipment invented by Dave Gross, founder of Collision Control Communications, is called “the Eliminator” because it can eliminate traffic congestion that slows down an emergency response.

Traffic signals in Indianapolis were upgraded on West Street where it intersects Maryland Street near the RCA Dome and Washington Street near U.S. 40. The equipment also is about to be installed on a fire engine.

The installation follows months of testing at a traffic-signal shop, where the Eliminator passed with flying colors.

“It works pretty well,” said John McCollum a signal electrician with Indianapolis’ Department of Public Works/Operations/Traffic. “What Dave has is going to improve on something that’s already been really useful for a lot of cities.”

“We’ve had another product … that’s more of a line-of-site visibility thing, and if there were tree limbs or trucks in the way it wouldn’t work that well,” said McCollum, who tested the Eliminator. “With Dave’s, since it’s radio (based) and doesn’t count on that older technology that’s line of site, you can be coming around a corner a quarter of a mile away and still get the pre-empt. It makes it a little more effective.”

Lights atop emergency vehicles in Indianapolis and several major metro areas have strobe equipment that can change traffic lights to let them through, but the system relies on an optical signal that can be blocked by a bus or semi or even tree limbs or fog, Gross said.

After noticing an ambulance trying to work its way through congested traffic the day after Thanksgiving several years ago near Glenbrook Square Mall in Fort Wayne, it occurred to him that using radio equipment to control traffic signals might save lives.

The Eliminator uses radio signals to interact with traffic lights up to a mile away and to detect the approach of other emergency vehicles in the area.

Prior to an emergency vehicle’s arrival at an intersection, traffic signals in its path recognize its approach and will turn green in the vehicle’s direction of travel, while displaying a red light to all other directions of traffic flow.

In the event that two or more emergency vehicles are on a collision course, the Eliminator will warn the vehicles when they get within a mile of each other via an audible alarm and a flashing display.

Engineers are improving the device to also include a voice warning, and they expect to upgrade the Eliminator soon with a “smart” mode that pre-empts traffic-signal lights automatically whenever a emergency vehicle’s flashing lights activated.

The display on the face of the Eliminator looks like a dial, and the position of one or more lights flashing at the circumference indicates the direction of approaching emergency vehicles within 6 degrees.

Gross formed Collision Control Communications to design and develop the technology and patent and license it, spending most of his savings for retirement in the process.

He recruited Thomas Laverghetta, professor of computer science and broadcast technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2000 to begin the design work.

Eventually, an associate professor at IPFW and two additional engineers were added to the team to design and develop working prototypes.

Electrical engineers with J&S Resource Management built the prototypes the city of Indianapolis is using by hand, Gross said.

“We donated them … in return for being our test city,” he said.

“One of the reasons we were interested in using Indianapolis as a test was they could do an apples-to-apples comparison (with strobe-based signal pre-emption equipment),” he said. “We thought it would be better than a city that had never used anything before.”

The equipment was unveiled to firefighters from across the country during the Fire Department Instructors Conference in the RCA Dome about a month before it was installed on traffic signals or fire engines in the city, Gross said.

“Because of that buzz, I think a lot of the convention-goers were drawn to our booth and we had a lot more response than we had anticipated,” he said. More than a dozen cities “expressed interest in seeing more of the technology.”

The industry will have a chance to learn more about the Eliminator through articles soon to be published in Fire Chief’s Magazine and the IMSA Journal, a publication of the International Municipal Signal Association.

The Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice have taken an unusually keen interest in commercialization of the technology because they believe it could speed a large-scale response to an emergency caused by a terrorist attack, Gross said.

The Eliminator was among only a dozen technologies selected by the Office Of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization three years ago for a commercialization planning workshop it held in Albuquerque, N.M.

Gross has patent rights for the technology in the United States and foreign countries, including Canada.

Collision Control is preparing to sell the Eliminator and has discussed outsourcing production of the Eliminator to White Electronics in Fort Wayne.

But he hopes to license the technology to another company or group of companies that would produce and market it. He has arranged for Lagerman & Associates in Washington, D.C. to handle the licensing.

Collision Control has issued 100,000 shares of stock and has been selling it at $10 per share, he said.

A Paradigm Shift In Traffic Signal Preemption

BY Dave Gross, President/CEO Collision Control Communications, Inc.

Collision Control Communications, Inc. is pleased to introduce a cost effective system that represents a paradigm shift in traffic signal preemption technologies. The Eliminator™ is a patented radio based system and its components will be on display for the first time at this years IMSA Louisville convention in August. Based on seven years of research and development by professors at Indiana University/Purdue University and J & S Resource Management, this technology has many significant advantages over systems which are currently available. The most notable life saving advantage is collision avoidance. In the event two or more emergency vehicles are on a collision course, the Eliminator™ warns the driver of each vehicle of the impending collision both audibly and visually, giving the relative direction of the impending threat.

Collision Avoidance

A circular ring of 60 LED’s on the face of the vehicle unit alerts the driver to the direction of the impending collision, displaying its angle of incidence with an accuracy of + 3 degrees (see figure 1). In the event of a collision impending from the right at a 90-degree angle as in the example shown in figures 1 and 3, a pre-recorded female voice will also warn the driver with the audible cue “collision alert at 3 o’clock”. The Eliminator™ is capable of mathematically calculating and displaying up to sixty different impending collisions simultaneously. Collision alerts are presented at both signalized and non-signalized intersections, including alleyways and even rural areas where the nearest traffic signal may be miles away. Collision avoidance data is securely transmitted among wireless AeroComm™ transceivers utilizing frequency hopping spread spectrum broadcasting in the 902.217 – 927.492 MHz frequency range. The Eliminator’s™ distance-to-collision sensitivity can be adjusted from less than fifty feet to up to one mile.

Preemption

Traffic signal preemption is effectuated utilizing a wireless directional signal in the 2.4 GHz spectrum. Preemption trigger distance can be adjusted “on the fly” to up to three quarters of a mile, if desired. Unlike infrared/optical preemption systems, the Eliminator's™ capabilities are not limited to “line of sight”. Preemption is easily triggered irrespective of visual obstructions such as semi-trailers, buses, bridges or overpasses; it works equally well where visibility is reduced by heavy fog, snow, rain or blowing sand/dust. While GPS preemption systems have overcome many of these drawbacks, most need to be “taught” to learn when the vehicle has entered an area where preemption is desired. The Eliminator™ has no such “learning curve” and is ready for use immediately upon installation.

GPS units, by technical design, also require satellite triangulation to know “where they are”. This is not always possible at intersections in large cities where one or more skyscrapers, for example, may preclude satellite triangulation. The Eliminator™ vehicle unit acknowledges preemption confirmation to the driver by changing the “status” light on the face of the device from red to green. Preemption by the vehicle units can be used in two different modes: auto mode (also referred to as “hands free” or “smart” mode) and manual mode. In auto mode, traffic signals are automatically preempted whenever the light bar is activated. Preemption is automatically disengaged when the vehicle arrives on scene, irrespective of light bar status. This mode allows the operator to “set it and forget it”. Upon arrival at the scene of an incident, it is often necessary for the operator to exit the vehicle expediently and begin rendering assistance, without having to remember to shut off the preemption feature. It allows preemption to be automatically relinquished from vehicles that are stationary at the scene with light bars activated to those who are still approaching. This mode is also particularly useful for a motorcycle police officer, since he would not have to remove his hands from the handlebars to operate the system. In the “manual” mode, preemption is always active. One use for manual mode would be an unmarked police unit that may desire preemption, but not want to announce its presence by lights or siren.

As intelligent transportation systems evolve, many of them will require the exchange of real time traffic data over greater distances. Since the traffic signal transceivers in the Eliminator™ system (see figure 2) have the ability to wirelessly and securely relay the throughput of additional data up to one mile, the technology is also uniquely poised to be able to additionally become the architectural “backbone” for many of these intelligent transportation systems currently being designed.

Figure 1.
Face of the emergency vehicle component of the “EliminatorTM” system
CAD rendering courtesy Mark Ramsey

Figure 2.
TS-2 Traffic signal card
Photo courtesy Steven Zavodny

Figure 3.
Emergency vehicle component of the “EliminatorTM” system showing collision impending from the right at a ninety degree angle (3 o’clock position)

Indianapolis, Indiana Prototype Installation

In the fall of 2004, Indiana Senator Tom Wyss met with the President of Collision Control Communications for several hours and quickly developed an interest in the Eliminator™ technology (particularly its security features). The Senator was instrumental in facilitating a meeting with officials representing the City of Indianapolis (Dudley Taylor/Battalion Fire Chief and Lenny Adair/Traffic Signal Department) that led to an initial agreement between Collision Control Communications, Inc. and the City of Indianapolis regarding demonstration of prototypes using the traffic signal at the intersection of Ohio and West Streets, and City emergency vehicles.

Upon completion of successful testing by the staff of the Indianapolis Traffic Signal Department in January 2007, this agreement was later expanded to additionally include the corridor of traffic signals traveling south along West Street, including the intersection at the northeast corner of the Indianapolis Convention Center and RCA Dome at West and Maryland Streets. Collision Control Communications, Inc. will also provide emergency vehicle prototypes of the technology (to be used by fire units based at West and Ohio streets), and a remote command/control module to allow manual preemption by a portable hand held unit. The agreement calls for Collision Control Communications, Inc. to provide this technology to the City at no cost.

Pictured below:
Indianapolis prototype testing. Pictured left to right are Dave Gross, President/CEO of Collision Control Communications, Inc., Guy Johnson Senior Installation Technician, Collision Control Communications, Inc. and John McCollum, Indianapolis Traffic Signal Division/President, Indiana Section, IMSA

FDIC Convention 2007 Booth Staff Photo

Pictured below:
Lt. Smith, Indianapolis, Indiana Fire Department, Dave Gross/CCC, Inc. President & CEO.

FDIC Convention 2007 Booth Staff Photo

Pictured below:
Traffic signal portion of the Eliminator is tested in the traffic signal shop in Indianapolis

FDIC Convention 2007 Booth Staff Photo

Pictured below:
Emergency vehicle portion of the Eliminator as installed in I.F.D.’s engine #13

FDIC Convention 2007 Booth Staff Photo

Pictured below:
Lt. Alvia Smith/I.F.D. (left) and Dave Gross/CCC, Inc. (right) following successful installation of the Eliminator in engine #13

FDIC Convention 2007 Booth Staff Photo