COLES COUNTY, Ill., (WCIA) — New technology in Coles County is helping first responders stay safe. They not only use it on their end, but you can see it at work right on your phones through certain apps.

It’s called HAAS Alert. When you use navigation apps like Waze or Apple Maps, you automatically get a notification that officials are on scene along your route.

It’s helping save lives at the same time. Kevin Rankin, deputy chief of the Lincoln Fire Protection District, said it reminds people to slow down and move over, following Scott’s Law.

HAAS helps keep his volunteer firefighters safe and get home to their families at the end of the day.

When the lights go off and sirens go on, HAAS automatically sends a notification to Apple Maps, Waze and certain car models, warning drivers that first responders are on their routes.

The Lincoln Fire Protection District (LFPD) has been using it, and Rankin said it’s helpful.

“We have a lot of curves on our five and a half miles of interstate that we cover, so there’s a lot of blind corners,” he said.

So, even before drivers round the corners, they know what to expect ahead.

Rankin described it as an “advanced warning.”

He added that it’s all about keeping their 55 volunteer firefighters safe by reminding drivers of Scott’s Law.

In December, HAAS alerted 504 drivers about 15 incidents within the district’s area.

LFPD has been using the device for six months, but they are now seeing the impacts.

“People are moving over, leaving the lane closest to us where we’re working,” Rankin said.

He notices more cars have been keeping their distance.

“Your head’s on a swivel. You’re turning around and trying to do something, and you’re also looking for cars coming at you,” Rankin added.

He said about 20% of people get the warning notification, but others follow their lead.

“Another 60% to 80% go to following if someone pulls into the left lane, they’re pulling into the left lane also,” Rankin said.

He is happy to have technology like this to help out.

“There’s nothing that compares to a life. So if that notifies people and gets us advanced warning for people to be sure and slow down, it’s well worth it,” Rankin said.

He said whether you see flashing lights or not, move over. It might be a first responder, or someone having car troubles.

Rankin said to remember, it could be you sitting along the road.

Outside of Central Illinois, HAAS has sent over 999 million alerts in total.

Rankin said his district will continue to use it and hopes to see even more improvement with safe driving down the line.