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New 2-Step Whistle System at Crossing Guard Locations in Ottawa

posted Jan 12, 2021, 8:54 AM by Kathryn McCallum

The Ottawa Safety Council (OSC) is rolling out a new 2-step whistle system at all crossing guard locations across Ottawa. Guards will be equipped with FOX-40 electronic whistles and will use these to communicate with pedestrians and drivers with the click of a button. “The guards primary form of communication with their pedestrians is verbal. They use facial expressions and eye contact to communicate with drivers. Having their voice muffled by a face mask and half of their face covered can be a barrier to clear communication while they are on their shifts,” explains Program Manager, Kelly Banks. “The whistle is an extra measure to ensure that everyone passing through the crossing guard’s intersection is alerted to their important presence there.”

The 2-step whistle system will work as follows:

1) The crossing guard determines it is safe to enter the crosswalk and will blow one long whistle blast to alert drivers they are stepping out.

2) Once positioned safely in the intersection, the crossing guard will blow two short whistle blasts to indicate to pedestrians it is safe to proceed.

3) If motorists attempt to illegally proceed through the crosswalk while the crossing guard and pedestrians are still crossing, the guard may blow another long whistle blast to get the drivers attention to stop and wait. Drivers may proceed through the crosswalk once all pedestrians and the crossing guard are safely on the curb.

The whistles will be rolled out across the City of Ottawa over the next several weeks, with priority going to intersections with higher volumes of traffic.