Everyone knows the drill when it comes to FDIC: Firefighters en masse converge on Indianapolis for a week of activities focused solely on the fire service. Those who’ve never been before may feel as if they’ve embarked on a firefighter spring break of sorts, especially if the weather’s good. Those returning may feel like Norm on an episode of “Cheers.”
But the intent of any fire-service-related convention is to inform, educate and improve. Therefore, being an exhibitor myself, I wondered what was out there in the way of products that FireRescue
readers might need and/or want to know about. Of the exhibits I saw and of the salespeople who were kind enough to stop and talk to me, I discovered a few products caught my attention and remained in my less-than-optimally-functioning short-term memory. (And for me, that’s saying a lot.)
RSDecon’s Decontamination Lotion (RSDL)
Yes, hazmat stuff. I know it’s not the nitty-gritty firefighting stuff, but the product is so quick and easy to use, I walked away wondering if I could purchase it for use in my own home (I have two kids under the age of 2).
RSDecon’s decontamination lotion, or RSDL, is an oil-based lotion stored within a small sponge that’s housed in a simple, tear-open packet (think snack-size bag of pretzels). The idea behind the small size was that most first responders, upon arriving at a hazmat-related incident, may have their bodies covered initially, but may have their hands, neck and face exposed. With one RSDL sponge, first responders can immediately remove or neutralize harmful chemical agents, such as tabin, sarin, soman, nerve agents, mustard, etc.
But the beauty of this product isn’t its compact size or the fact that it protects against all known chemical warfare agents, but that it’s odorless and won’t burn or affect the skin, so you don’t need to wash it off right away. It’s also been approved by the FDA and has been tested and approved by the DoD.
And if you’re concerned that such a product is too small for larger emergencies, the company is working on a larger version of RSDL, one that would include the lotion inside a bottle with a brush on the tip for decontaminating larger areas of the body.
For more information, visit www.RSDecon.com
Scott’s SEMS II
Have you seen that annoying commercial for Geiko insurance that has as its gimmick an odd stack of paper money with eyeballs? The anthem for that commercial is “Somebody’s Watchin’ Me,” an 80s song by Rockwell. Well, Scott has taken the concept behind that song and turned it into the latest in personnel accountability systems.
The SEMS II system basically “watches” firefighters on scene and monitors their functioning, or lack thereof. The system includes a wireless transceiver built into a firefighter’s PASS device that transmits information between firefighter(s) and incident command. Using a computer and SEMS II software, command can receive and continuously monitor vital components of a firefighter’s safety and fireground performance, such as SCBA cylinder pressure level, level of mobility (or immobility), vital signs, etc. It can also send evacuation signals, acknowledge PASS signals , establish or change assignments and record incident data. The system can even be personalized per firefighter via an RFID identification card, which can be swiped on the back of their SEMS II console. The information is then transmitted to incident command.
Probably the most impressive of the SEMS II features is its mesh networking ability. This capability allows the system to extend its range to the furthest SCBA. At FDIC, Scott Research and Development Director Conor Twomey explained they were “monitoring” an SCBA that was 17 stories up in the hotel across the street from the showroom floor. Pretty cool.
For more information, visit www.scotthealthandsafety.com
, but please note, the SEMS II won’t officially be on the market until June.
And thanks to Conor Twomey, Patrick Pflederer and Charles Watkins for lending me their time and combined expertise at FDIC.
Thales Liberty Multiband Radio
In these tough economic times, people are looking for ways to save money. (Am I telling you anything you don’t already know and have heard probably a million times in the last year?) Thales Communications has done you a favor by creating the Liberty multiband radio, the first radio that can be used across the entire public safety spectrum. To put it simply, if everyone had one of these, they’d have no need to purchase or carry multiple radios so they can communicate with other branches of public safety. It’s a multi-use radio for a multi-purpose profession. What more could you ask for?
The good, trusting folks at the Thales booth allowed me to hold one of the radios, and a few things struck me right away: 1) It’s lightweight and easy to hold, even while wearing gloves; 2) the screen is bright and easy to read; and 3) I pressed every button trying to break it (because I’m skilled at finding the self-destruct button on anything electronic), but it survived.
The Liberty has recently received FCC certification and is currently being tested by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate.
For more information, visit www.thalesliberty.com
Cindy Devone-Pacheco is senior editor of FireRescue