The Pateye is a self-contained solar-powered reflective marker and warning system that is triggered when ground temperature and moisture levels indicate the very high likelihood of ice formation. It then illuminates road/pavement and draws attention to hidden patches of ‘black ice’. Once triggered the onboard LEDs flash blue and provide an active, real-time warning alerting to the high probability of surface ice.
According to its manufacturer Solarbright, Pateye is ideal for walkways, steps, paving areas, car parks and general access areas where ice may be present.
The New Zealand Fire Service’s interest in the product came as a result of a donation of several ice-detecting pavement markers made to a local station by the device’s manufacturer, after a member of their staff had to call on emergency services late one night.
Following a casual remark by a first responder the Solarbright team decided to install the Pateye at the ice-prone station as a small token of its appreciation and to help the community-based fire crews avoid slips and falls caused by black ice.
In addition to providing an active warning to personnel on foot, the flashing Pateye also serves as an indication of prevailing road conditions.
The initial install was soon followed by several enquiries and orders from individual regional stations and it wasn’t long before Solarbright was approached by the New Zealand Fire Service with a view to rolling out the Pateye across all their ice-affected properties.
As a result of these conversations New Zealand Fire Service is now starting an installation programme which, beginning with their 24 hour-manned ‘career stations’ in and around Canterbury, will ultimately see the deployment of the Pateye at all South Island NZFS facilities which are prone to the formation of black ice.
The Pateye is now used not only by the fire service but also by the New Zealand Police Service and the New Zealand Defense Force to help protect their personnel, visitors and contractors from the risks the of slips, falls and personal injury caused by ice at their facilities.