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Every day, across the globe, emergency services teams come to people’s aid no matter the situation to ensure their safety. Whether it’s during a natural disaster, or at a significant event, the emergency services are on hand to face any challenge that comes their way. When supporting this crucial workforce, it is essential that they have robust and reliable connectivity. Technology is becoming a vital aspect of public safety and security worldwide, and this trend is only likely to grow. For these new devices to work effectively, full-scale coverage must be in place, and when it comes to people’s safety, there is no room for error. The need for redundancy and high bandwidth Two of the paramount tools at emergency services disposal are video surveillance and communication devices. Constant visibility and communication are often essential to protecting people and saving lives. The benefits range from providing first responders with a clear picture and understanding of the situation they are about to encounter; to providing greater safety during public events by enabling officers to control crowds and manage traffic effectively. Enhancing visibility and sharing information is particularly crucial during fires to guide firefighters and vehicles through flames and smoke, and to allow the central command center to organize resources effectively. Technology is becoming a vital aspect of public safety and security worldwide, and this trend is only likely to grow Despite any potential challenges ensuring network connectivity may create, public safety organizations cannot compromise when it comes to optimizing security. For IP video surveillance and cellphone broadband connectivity to operate effectively, they require redundancy and high bandwidth. Without these connectivity attributes, devices become useless; for example, there are municipalities where as much as 50 percent of the camera network is offline because of poor product choices and inferior network design and installation. Equally, poor quality networking can be just as limiting as it can lead to public safety organizations being unable to receive real-time data. All areas must also have adequate bandwidth to access data, such as on-scene video, aerial imagery, maps, and images, and many existing public safety networks do not have that capacity. Supporting security and safety robotics Robots and drones have seen a considerable increase in popularity this year, with 60 million such machines being deployed according to ABI Research. They offer a wealth of potential to emergency services teams, whether on land, air, or sea. For example, water rescue robots can go where humans cannot, earthquake and fire robots can search through otherwise non-navigable areas, and drones can survey vast regions. However, for these wireless devices to work effectively, they rely on many features. They need low power consumption so as not to heavily burden the onboard power source of the robotic device and, perhaps, a high level of encryption so information cannot be stolen or hacked. There are also benefits to security and safety as robotic devices can communicate with one another peer-to-peer. Directly mounting radios to robots and drones, fosters dynamic self-learning, data sharing, and more wireless paths in the event one or more of the devices in an area do not have a link to fixed infrastructure. Water rescue robots can go where humans cannot, earthquake and fire robots can search through otherwise non-navigable areas, and drones can survey vast regions The main component that security and safety robotics require is redundant and resilient connections. If the connection is lost, the connected device will go into “safe” mode and stop. Creating a high capacity network that supports mobile devices in complex and fast-moving environments is not a simple task. In many cases, it requires a network that supports many wireless connections and allows for many paths in and out, so that if a link is lost, another path is available for data transmission and reception. This type of network is the best way to ensure that police, firefighters, and emergency units can access and send large amounts of data from wherever they are and in real-time making a massive difference to the efficiency of the emergency services. An example of this is Rajant’s private Kinetic Mesh® network, a wireless network ensuring no single point of failure. It offers reliable, intelligent, and secure wireless broadband connectivity that survives and thrives in evolving and mobility-driven environments. It forms a “living” mesh network that can move with and adapt to the evolving communication requirements of public safety organizations. Technology in action Back in October 2019, the heat from the sun, combined with winds gusting through the foothills of El Capitán Canyon in California, sparked a bush fire in the overly dry, desert hills. Despite four hundred and twenty acres being burnt, firefighters used their experience and skills combined with newfound digital technology to ensure that no structures were damaged, and there were no reported injuries. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Cal Fire, the U.S Forest Service, and other agencies were immediately dispatched to contain the fire. More than 200 firefighters were needed to combat the fire and reinforce containment lines with helicopters and drones in the air and bulldozers on the ground. To operate this equipment, mesh radio nodes, bonded cellular, and satellite technologies were used to link the communication gap in locations where signals are often dropped. Rajant BreadCrumb® nodes were mounted to the fire-breaking, 30-ton bulldozers manned by trained firefighters to uproot vegetation and eliminate the materials that would further spread the fire. Robots and drones have seen a considerable increase in popularity this year, with 60 million such machines being deployed The reliable connectivity allowed the bulldozers to not only easily communicate with each other and the base, but also to send video footage and data to the tactical truck and central command post over cellular and SAT networks. This situational awareness data transfer allowed for greater efficiency, as well as increased safety for the public and the firefighters. Reliability when you need it most Reliable connectivity solutions are being embraced across the emergency services due to the innumerable benefits they bring to ensuring the safety of the public. For police, firefighters, and emergency units, dependable connectivity allows for rapid, real-time response, and the use of technology can save lives in ways that wouldn’t have seemed possible a decade ago. Planned and unplanned events can benefit from the new technology being introduced, and emergency services need to make sure they have the network capabilities to support them. For environments that are challenging and hostile, this requires a network available on-demand, which can withstand the demands of harsh conditions and mobility while maintaining a level of redundancy and high bandwidth that allows for accessing and sending large amounts of data from any location.
Did you know an estimated 30% of smoke alarms in the UK are inoperable due to missing, flat or disconnected batteries? For a property to comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is vitally important that all fire safety equipment is kept in perfect working order at all times. This involves checking that the fire safety equipment is accessible, well maintained and hasn’t been tampered with. There are many ways you can take care of your fire safety equipment, to ensure your property is prepared, should there ever be a fire. Equipment Assessment Checks There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually If you’re the ‘responsible person’ for commercial property, you need to ensure your building meets fire safety standards. Here are 5 tips on how to properly maintain your fire safety equipment. Both passive and active fire safety equipment must be check regularly for any signs of wear or damage. There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually. There is a range of equipment checks you must carry out, including fire doors, fire alarm test, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers. Emergency lighting should be checked monthly, with all issues kept in a logbook. Fire doors should also be checked to ensure their seals and frames are in good condition. Fire Alarm Tests All fire protection has to be checked annually including alarms, detectors, lighting, sprinklers, extinguishers and fire doors. They should be carefully inspected. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises. To check that your Fire alarms still function correctly, it is important to get them serviced. All fire alarms should be tested, maintained and inspected by a competent person who is able to carry out any remedial work. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises Fire extinguishers must be ready to work straight away in the event of a fire, so it is vital they are regularly checked and serviced. You should ensure they are maintained and kept in a functional condition. Every month, the pressure gauge should be tested on all fire extinguishers. Fire Risk Assessments Every year, it is required that a qualified technician carries out a thorough check on all your extinguishers for them to be fully serviced and certified. In addition to regular maintenance checks on your fire safety equipment, it is vital your commercial property has a fire risk assessment carried out every 4 years, with a renewal every 2 years. Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally. By having a fire risk assessment review, it determines whether any changes could impact the ability for your equipment to properly protect your building. Fire Safety Logbook During a risk assessment, all fire doors must be checked to ensure they are in good condition and close efficiently with secure hinges. The fire seals must be fixed in position, with signs on the door present and legible. To keep an overview of all findings and actions, there should be a fire safety logbook and maintenance record that remains at your premises at all times. The logbook is used to record and review any significant findings when carrying out the fire risk assessment. This helps to keep all fire safety equipment functioning effectively and available to respond to emergency fires.
In communities of all sizes, fire crews are always in need of finding ways to improve preparedness and reduce risk. When fire departments use software systems that meet these needs, they stay safer and more informed on the scene. They also ensure that citizens stay safer during fire emergencies. Since the first organized response to a fire emergency began, firefighters have always made it a point to prevent injuries and minimize fire-related damage. However, since that time, technology has improved virtually everything about fire response, from the way crews get to the scene, to the information they have in transit about the emergency, to what they need to do upon arrival. This knowledge means fire crews no longer need to use three-ring binders full of documents to search for information. Instead, they use mobile data terminals (MDTs) and mobile fire software apps on smartphones, laptops, or tablets in their ladder trucks, fire engines, and other vehicles, which provide them with instant access to the data they need when it’s needed. Fire crews no longer need to use three-ring binders full of documents to search for information Mission Critical Data For Emergencies MDTs work directly with a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system to show first responders information about an emergency. With this technology, mission-critical data with real-time information about an emergency is available for fire crews. Having this data on hand helps keep crews safe, protect citizens, and reduce the risk of catastrophic damage to the structure involved. For example, if fire crews respond to a structure fire and dispatchers receive information while on the call that the roof collapsed before crews arrival, fire crews are made aware of this information in real time. Any information dispatchers receive about the emergency is immediately available for fire crews using an MDT. Information included in an MDT includes location of hazardous chemicals on site, knowledge of any hazardous materials on site, owner contact information, building entrance points and floorplans, and hydrant location. Any information dispatchers receive about the emergency is immediately available for fire crews Advance Planning For Fire Rescue MDTs are vital components to fire rescue. These ruggedized laptops are often mounted in a firetruck and crews communicate with one another regarding the data dispatchers share. When fire crews do not have access to an MDT, they rely upon radio transmissions, cell phones, and pagers to share information. Without a way to share this information in transit, fire crews create attack plans on the scene. This results in more time being spent planning rather than tackling the fire emergency, which could result in more damage and injuries or loss of life. For instance, fires double in size every 30 seconds. When technology can be leveraged so fire crews can create an attack plan while in transit, they reduce risk on the scene. Advanced planning helps each member of the crew know what he or she is doing on the scene based on their roles. Mobile Communication Apps Another way fire crews improve preparedness and reduce risk in a fire response is through the use of a mobile fire software application that can be used on smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and works seamlessly with MDTs.Mobile apps help bridge the gap between the communication received from dispatch to all members of a fire crew Mobile apps help bridge the gap between the communication received from dispatch to all members of a fire crew. Plus, with a mobile app that knows who’s using the device, it can automatically populate the information the user needs based on the location of the user and the user’s role. That means personalized information is delivered as it is needed, which helps crew members to begin their attack plans before arriving on the scene. Crews that use mobile apps arrive on the scene better prepared to attack the fire immediately, thereby saving time and reducing risk. Another benefit of using mobile fire apps is that they are less costly than other software solutions, which helps fire departments purchase more for crews. Many fire departments use MDTs and mobile fire apps so that crews are well-equipped with informational tools. With this opportunity to arrive more prepared on the scene, fire crews can reduce risk to themselves and those involved in the emergency. Vital information is placed into the hands of crew members no matter where they are in the rig, ladder truck, or fire engine Accessible Information For Fire Crews Both mobile fire apps and MDTs work together to harness the power of CAD and bring it directly to fire crews. Vital information is placed into the hands of crew members no matter where they are in the rig, ladder truck, or fire engine. Plus, mobile fire apps can be used by volunteer firefighters, which helps ensure they are as connected to details about the emergency as possible.Another benefit of technology in the world of firefighting is that mobile fire apps and MDTs can work together Fire crews using both have vital routing information, data regarding the structure involved, pre-plans, history, access to their own maps, and anything else that enhances contextual awareness for crews.Another benefit of technology in the world of firefighting is that mobile fire apps and MDTs can work together. While both harness the power of CAD and bring it directly to fire crews, an app is more accessible for crews in the back of the rig or ladder truck. Considerations When Purchasing Mobile Data Terminals The most important thing for fire departments to consider before purchasing an MDT or mobile app is this: Ensure that the software allows for users to take their own CAD information, so they can extend its functionality. These fire software systems should also be intuitive so that they know who is using it and what information they need. They should also be hands-free and understand spoken commands and have the capacity to take those commands and escalate to the next level. By making use of the software systems available to fire departments, crews experience a better use of their time, access relevant information for all roles, and stay safer on the scene through better preparedness and risk reduction.
Many firefighters turn to the retractable Mic Keeper® from Hammerhead Industries After a string of firefighter injuries and deaths related to radio communication in the 2000s, the International Association of Fire Chiefs formed a special subcommittee to look into the issues. The result was a series of portable radio best practices that among other things recommended firefighters place radio microphones one to two inches from the mouth to avoid audio distortion problems when operating in environments with high levels of background noise. In fact, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program*, lack of effective communications is one of the leading causes of non-cardiac line of duty deaths among firefighters. Many firefighters are turning to the retractable Mic Keeper® from Hammerhead Industries to effectively secure their radio equipment to their lapels and be in compliance with the new IAFC directives. “By using a Mic Keeper firefighters not only ensure their radio will always be where they expect it, but it also can help a firefighter meet the IAFC recommendations for maintaining a proper speaking distance,” says John Salentine, Vice President and co-founder of Hammerhead Industries, which manufactures the full range of Gear Keeper products including the Mic Keeper. “The device has been used by firefighters for years for comfort and convenience. It keeps the mic close to the body which prevents it from becoming entangled or damaged if they have to crawl on the ground or squeeze through tight spaces. “It can also help avoid major problems caused by an untethered mic dangling on the ground or a melted mic cord that was wrapped around the neck over the reflective material on turnout coats,” he added. IAFC says that firefighters should “ensure that the microphone is placed one to two inches from the mouth or SCBA voice port with the microphone positioned directly in front of the audio source.” A Mic Keeper device is designed to keep the mic securely in the proper position to operate the microphone appropriately when in use. When released after use, the mic will automatically retract to a secure position leaving the hands free to use other critical firefighting tools. Not a lot of attention is paid to how firefighters wear their portable radios or where they clip their microphones, according to Raul A. Angulo, a 27-year veteran of the Seattle Fire Department and captain of Ladder Company 6 who teaches classes on firefighter entrapment. Angulo, writing in Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Magazine**, said that he prefers the Mic Keeper to ensure he always knows where his mic is located and have easy access to it in an entrapment situation. “As for the mic, your lifeline to safety and survival, I have found no better accessory than the retractable tether system of Gear Keeper,” he wrote. “When I need it, I reach to my left shoulder and there it is, every time. I grab it, pull it to the voice amplifier of my SCBA, transmit my message and let it go. It smoothly retracts with a 12-ounce force.” The Mic Keeper is a rugged, retractable system designed to utilize and protect gear in severe environments with maximum break strength and durability. To easily attach a Mic Keeper or another Gear Keeper device developed for other popular firefighter tools like flashlights, seatbelt cutters and thermal imaging cameras to a firefighter’s turnout gear, the company developed the innovative Add-A-Clip® product line. These sturdy clips enable users to attach a Mic Keeper or Gear Keeper without the need for special sewn-on alterations. Add-A-Clips come with a variety of end types such as snap clips, bolt clips, split rings and glove holders. “The issue of properly securing a radio and microphone to a turnout coat has become a vital part of firefighter safety,” says Salentine. “There have been far too many tragic cases that have brought to light the importance of properly fastening a portable radio.”
The retractable tether kit’s stabilizer eliminates the swinging and dangling associated with fireman’s flashlights Laden with tools and running through blinding smoke during a dangerous fire, firefighters must react quickly when it comes to making a life-saving decision. There’s no time to waste fumbling for a flashlight. Gear Keeper’s Right Angle and Straight Flashlight self-retracting/stabilizing tether kits, designed especially for firefighters, safely secures the flashlights against loss while keeping them easily accessible and always pointed in the direction the firefighter is moving. The Gear Keeper attachment device combines the proper retractor force with a stabilizer strap that keeps the firefighters’ Right Angle and Straight flashlights strapped to their jackets and ready for use at a moment’s notice. Equally important, the retractable tether kit’s unique stabilizer eliminates the annoying swinging and dangling associated with fireman’s flashlights. The stabilizer strap, which minimizes the flashlight’s movement, always keeps the light from the Right Angle flashlight properly positioned and pointed forward. When the situation requires crawling, both flashlights can be easily removed from the stabilizer strap, enabling them to hang forward. Firefighters need only to grab their light, use it and let it go; it will always be right where they need it. “When involved in a fire rescue it goes without saying that it is extremely important to have your gear readily accessible,” says John Salentine, Vice President and co-founder of Hammerhead Industries, which manufactures Gear Keeper systems. “While all of our products at Gear Keeper are designed to meet very specific needs, everything centers back to our expertise in creating solutions for situations when holding onto the gear with your hands alone, is simply not an option.” There are two models available—the smaller 4-AA flashlights (12 oz., 20” extension, SS Cable with nylon coating) or the larger 3-C/ 4-C Rechargable Flashlights (24 oz, 32” extension, Spectra/nylon line). The Gear Keeper Flashlight Retractor Kit boasts 60-lb. break strength for the smaller straight version and 80-lb. break strength for the larger Right Angle version. Making it impervious to some of the harshest elements faced on the job, both flashlight kitsalso feature Gear Keeper ‘s patented automatic flushing system that clears debris from the retractor, essential for the smoky and ash-filled environments where firefighters work.Flashlight retractor/stabilizer kitsalso include the patented Q/C-II quick release connector system that allows either flashlight to be easily and swiftlyremoved from the turnout coat. Gear Keeper offers a complete line of tethering systems. The full array of Gear Keeper tethers and accessories are available on the company’s website. For more information regarding Gear Keeper’sFireman Flashlight Retractor Kits(4-AA flashlight model RT2-4322 &the larger 3-C/ 4-C Rechargable Flashlight model RT3-4323) visit http://www.gearkeeper.com.
The Glass Keeper adhesive film quickly attaches to the car window and secures the glass Someone is injured in a car crash every 14 seconds. Of the more than 6 million auto accidents in the United States every year, over half a million require extraction of the victim. To maximize the victim’s chances of survival, it is critical that the injured be removed as quickly and as safely as possible. After securing the victim, glass management is the firefighter’s next concern. However, when the window is punched-in for access to the patient, a dangerous situation can be made worse. The broken glass that showers the interior and exterior of the vehicle leaves razor sharp shards that impede the safe and quick removal of the victim and rescuer. Equally important, it puts unnecessary time constraints on the critical first 10 minutes of the “Golden Hour.” To avoid additional injury to the victim during the extrication process, firefighters and EMT personnel can now safely “peel away” an automobile window rather than smashing it into the vehicle and surrounding area. The Glass Keeper adhesive film from Hammerhead Industries, quickly attaches to the car window and secures the glass. After the window is ”punched” by the rescuer, the Glass Keeper captures and removes 95% of the broken glass. The entire process takes less than 45 seconds. Without the fear of further injury, the firefighter will have “glass-free” immediate access to the patient. Freeing up the time of valuable rescue workers, the Glass Keeper adhesive film window removal system takes only one person to attach it to the car window and remove the glass. No tools or additional cutting are required. Manufactured with a tenacious adhesive, the Glass Keeper securely bonds to car windows whether they are clean, wet or dirty. “With the Glass Keeper, just apply it to the window, break the glass, pull it off and you’re done. You’re in. It’s clean and it’s quick,” according to Tim Scott, a 22-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.“ In less than a minute, Glass Keeper gives you direct access to the patient. It’s a much more expedient process and it keeps us within that ‘Golden Hour’ to get the patient to the hospital. Using the Glass Keeper to keep the glass out of the vehicle creates a safer environment for everyone involved.” “When involved in a rescue situation it goes without saying that it is extremely important to have the proper gear readily accessible,” says John Salentine, Vice President and co-founder of Hammerhead Industries, manufacturers of the Glass Keeper and Gear Keeper systems. “Because of its life saving ability to expedite an auto accident victim’s extraction time, the Glass Keeper should be standard safety equipment on every fire truck and emergency vehicle. Our new Glass Keeper is a major step forward in auto accident rescue safety.” Individual Glass Keeper adhesive films measure 20” x 30”. They are packaged in a rolled tube containing two Glass Keeper devices. The lightweight and compact product’s list price is $39.99 per set. To order ask for Part# GL3-0002. For a dealer near you, contact Hammerhead Industries at 888.588.9981. The Glass Keeper and full line of Gear Keeper products are available on the company’s website at www.gearkeeper.com.
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