Industry Standard

Another possible tool for us to add to the proverbial toolbox is a new gadget aimed at tracking people. Intelligence Safety Solutions released a prototype of SafetySet, an electronic device that is reported to be able to provide a definitive answer for determining if occupants are still in a building. According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, SafetySet “could enable first responders to pinpoint within a few feet the locations of people inside burning buildings or other structures where there is an emergency.” The device can also help us in times of disorientation according to Peter Hawrylak, of Pitt’s RFID Center of Excellence. “For example, a firefighter’s RFID tag would send electronic signals to a commander’s laptop computer outside a burning building. The commander could monitor the firefighter’s location and provide directions if needed.” RFIDs, or Radio Frequency Identification tags have been in use for quite awhile, mostly used to track cattle, luggage, boxcars, items shipped long distances. The retail market is developing RFIDs to speed our time purchasing items by nearly eliminating the checkout line and the self-checkout line. While not explained in detail in the news article, we are being led to believe that RFIDs can allow the first arriving companies to know the exact location of every single occupant in a structure with RFID tracking. Also, incident commanders will be able to know the exact location of every single firefighter on the fireground, should they be tagged with an RFID. If one member should become disoriented, then the incident commander can simply “provide directions” (we must theorize that the incident commander has pre-plans for this to work).

New items for the fire service are always viewed with skepticism, but two statements in this article should cause every one of us to question the intentions of Intelligence Safety Solutions and its partner, The Parallel Group.

“”We lose about 200 first responders a year in these situations,” said Grant, CEO of The Parallel Group and marketing chief at Intelligence Safety Solutions LLC in the South Side. “They’ll mount a search-and-rescue operation without knowing who’s in there.”” – Dan Grant (bold mine)

The way that Mike Cronin of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes the article, it is a guess that Mr. Grant means firefighters, and that he means lost while searching for occupants. 200? Somehow the USFA has lost count of this additional 100 first responders who may have been “lost” each year.

“”If we get this right and make it cost effective and easy to use, we hope that every first responder worldwide views this as the industry standard.”” – Dan Grant (bold mine)

What is our “industry standard” and what are the references used to qualify this device as a standard for firefighting operations, particularly search and rescue? We have a difficult time defining the standards among ourselves for the most basic operations. Just look at any fire service website forum and you will see debates about whether or not to lay a supply line when approaching the building, searching vacant buildings, and with regard to the Houston apparatus accident, what levels of response to use. When new equipment breaks the prototype barrier and begins to be promoted our way, especially when funded as a “standard”, we need to determine if the inventors are properly informed before the salesman gets his foot in the door.

In the meantime, another new tool was introduced to help firefighters in one department perform according to “industry standards”
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4xNve-bFtQ&hl=en&fs=1]
“The truck confirmed the reported location of the fire, the engine stretched from the floor below, to extinguish the fire – the engine stretched off the standpipe to extinguish the fire.” Battalion Chief Jim McDermott

References
New device locates people in imminent danger” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, March 2009
How RFID Works” HowStuffWorks.com
$4.2M simulator on Randalls Island trains FDNY for high-rise fires” Daily News, March 2009
Preparing for high-rise hells” Daily News, March 2009
Photograph courtesy Daily News

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1 Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    This will probably become an "Industry Standard" after the Feds are lobbyed into forcing departments to buy them under the penality of not getting grant money to buy them after OSHA decides to require them for firefighter safety. The new business model seems to be "get the government to require it" rather than "make a product that departments can use and afford"

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“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”
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Ben Waller
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Actually, the "Women and children first" idea cane from the sinking if the HMS Birkenhead. Now known as "The Birkenhead Drill", this stemmed from the ship beginning to sink, an inadequate number of lifeboats, and the Royal Marines and soldiers on board being called to formation and standing in ranks while the ships crew put…
2014-08-21 11:25:14
Ron Ayotte
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bing-freaking-o!
2014-08-21 02:49:30
Brian Gary
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Very well written. I couldn't agree more with your statements. The problems are many, but they perpetuate and increase with every new class of recruits that are poisoned with the idea that anyone who feels unsafe has a responsibility to act and stop whatever is going on. When I came on, my instructors told me…
2014-08-21 02:04:23
Ric Jorge
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Atta boy David, customer service or customer satisfaction? The line is fine, and more often than not we can accomplish both with action, and a kind demeanor.
2014-08-21 01:41:12
Dave
The Discussion EVERY Shift MUST HAVE
Thanks for having the stones to put this info. out there. If through your efforts and others we can save one brother or sister then you have made a positive change in the fire service and that is really what we should all aspire to do in one way or another.
2014-08-13 14:00:30
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