The power of firefighter connectivity
The design of advanced firefighter equipment and protective clothing has made great strides in recent years, taking full advantage of significant advances in technology. Today, firefighter PPE must offer protection from a myriad of immediate dangers and changing dynamics - from heat and flame, to chemicals and other toxins.
In a fast paced, quickly changing environment, it must also be reliable and readily available, not only protecting firefighters from the physical dangers of the job, but also connecting them to colleagues on and off site.
Connectivity matters because it helps keep firefighters safe, supported and accounted for on the ground. It improves situational awareness, overall scene visibility, as well as making post-incident analysis easier and more accurate.
Connected equipment is something firefighters have been requesting for a long time and manufacturers, such as MSA, have listened, introducing a brand-new generation of firefighter equipment for the future.
MSA is at the forefront of innovation and software development – investing heavily to create connected and user-friendly equipment that works in synergy together.
MSA’s Connected Firefighter platform
MSA’s Connected Firefighter products keep firefighters connected at all times, whether they’re using self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or not.
At the core of MSA’s connected firefighter platform are two revolutionary pieces of technology: The telemetry-enabled M1 SCBA and a new wireless, search and rescue device called LUNAR.
The M1 is MSA’s most advanced, ergonomic and modular SCBA system. It’s easy-to-use, reliable, adaptable and a good communicator.
When the M1 is telemetry-enabled, it is capable of transmitting device and firefighter information directly to Incident Command, or to those monitoring the incident remotely, helping them to better manage incidents and keep firefighters safe.
The complete telemetry solution includes the telemetry-enabled M1 control module, MSA HUB, and Entry Control Board.
The M1 Control Module is an easy-to-use personal alert safety system (PASS) with motionless sensor. Its full colour integrated digital display also helps firefighters clearly understand their situation by giving clear pressure and alarm indications.
The Entry Control Board is lightweight and easily transportable. Its modern touchscreen interface is intuitive and easy to use with colour coded, automatic alerts for alarms and evacuation. It has six SCBA ‘tally’ slots and provides an Incident Commander with an at-a-glance overview of the air and alarm status of connected M1 SCBA.
Data is captured and transmitted by the M1 control module to the MSA HUB, which collects wireless transmissions from all active firefighters at the scene. This data is then processed and can be viewed at the scene via the Entry Control Board or remotely through the MSA HUB’s cloud connection.
Small and wireless, LUNAR can be used as a stand-alone device or in combination with the M1 SCBA, expanding the technological capability of the system. Upon power on, LUNARs automatically form a connected safety network known as F.A.S.T., which stands for Firefighting Search Assisting Technology. This network instantly informs others on-scene when firefighters become distressed and provides the means of navigation to their downed teammate. The navigation capabilities combine distance and direction data with thermal imaging, helping to locate injured or separated colleagues quickly.
LUNAR’s personal thermal imaging capabilities include a new feature called edge detection, which highlights areas of significant thermal difference in frame, effectively identifying objects such as ventilation points and making it easier for firefighters to find their way around in zero visibility.
LUNAR also includes embedded cellular technology allowing the device to instantly connect to FireGrid cloud services, completely independent of other infrastructure or devices.
The capabilities of both LUNAR and the M1 SCBA are expanded by MSA’s cloud-based software platform, called FireGrid. This software platform provides fire and rescue service with the right data at the right time. FireGrid is ISO 27001 certified and is where data can be monitored and easily accessed by the on-scene Incident Commander or remotely by colleagues back at the station or headquarters.
Data from these devices can not only be viewed via the MSA Entry Control Board, but also remotely via FireGrid Web or a downloadable, free app called FireGrid Monitor.
FireGrid also has data storage capabilities that allow for post-scene analysis and reporting. This clever software makes post-scene incident analysis easy and can provide useful insights for maintenance managers and training officers, enabling them to make informed decisions about SCBA maintenance and injury prevention.
In dangerous environments, maintaining constant communication and awareness is key to firefighter safety. All of these products combine to create a useful and powerful tool for use in the field.
In the heat of the moment, quick decision making can help save lives and technology is now playing such an important role. It provides accountability by providing accessible and actionable data via a user-friendly interface, that can be monitored remotely, in real time. The captured data also makes it easier to carry out valuable post incident analysis.
The Connected Firefighter platform is an investment for the future and offers superior protection for firefighters across the world.
For further information on MSA’s Connected Firefighter range of products, visit https://gb.msasafety.com/connected-firefighter