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Back in Indianapolis for the first time since 2019, FDIC International 2021 offered a full slate of conference sessions, hands-on training and equipment exhibitions. Attendance was down, but everyone appeared happy to be back at the show, after cancellations and delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masking compliance was low, despite continuing concerns about COVID-19 and the Delta variant. There was little social distancing. In many respects, the show seemed back to normal.

A highlight of the event was the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s (NFFF) 9/11 Stair Climb. It’s a way for attendees to honor and remember those in the fire service community, who gave their lives in the 9/11 tragedy. Hundreds of FDIC participants paid tribute by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center.

MSA’s LUNAR hand-held device on display

As always, safety was a huge theme at the FDIC exhibition, including development in hand-held tools

As always, safety was a huge theme at the FDIC exhibition, including development in hand-held tools. MSA Safety displayed the new LUNAR hand-held device that helps keep firefighting teams connected, combining direction and distance information with thermal imaging to help find separated teammates and decrease response time.

LUNAR uses cloud technology to increase fire-scene management capabilities for incident commanders. LUNAR can be used as a stand-alone device or as part of an MSA SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) system. Thermal imaging with edge detection identifies hot spots and ventilation points, so as to simplify navigation through low-visibility environments.

Tethered drone and Reveal FirePRO X thermal camera

FotoKite (Perspective Robotics AG), which has a joint development agreement with MSA Safety, featured a tethered drone that hovers over the site of an emergency, in order to provide networking capabilities through the tether for better connectivity.

Seek Thermal offers the ‘smallest and lightest’ thermal imaging camera, available for US$ 799 and seeks to bring the benefits of thermal technology to every position on the fire team. The Reveal FirePRO X can now be charged using a four-station charging dock priced at US$ 399. The compact size makes the FirePRO X easy to carry and manage, while its high resolution and fast frame rate ensure superior images.

Teledyne gas detection systems exhibited

Teledyne displayed a range of gas detection systems, starting with the simple Protégé ZM carbon monoxide meter that can clip onto pockets, helmets, and EMS bags. A new product is the Gas Laser, a hand-held device that can quickly scan common venting points from a safe distance, in order to identify the presence of dangerous explosive gas.

Teledyne recently acquired FLIR and the combined companies will provide a spectrum of imaging technologies and products spanning X-ray through infrared and from components to complete imaging systems.

FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service, featured in a presentation theater on the show floor.
FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service

Innovation Hub

FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service, featured in a presentation theater on the show floor. Leading the initiative was SafeTech, a College Station, Texas-based non-profit organization, whose mission is to bring new technologies to first responders and armed forces.

One featured company was Tracks North America, which provides unmanned vehicles with fork-lift capabilities. Another was Infysort, which makes superabsorbent pellets – ‘hyper-blown polypropylene sorbent nanomaterial’ that can absorb 50 to 60 times its weight in oil.

Hale Products SAM control system

HURST Jaws of Life demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater power extrication tool

The SAM control system, by Hale Products, is gaining in popularity, offering computerized/integrated water flow controls that manage a fire truck’s pump, tank, intakes and discharges using touch-screen display for simplified interface. The new SAM Smart Nozzle allows firemen to control flow from the end of the fire hose.

HURST Jaws of Life demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater power extrication tool that can withstand salt water.

The Lifeline Firehose provides a source of continuous breathable air coming from the nozzle of a fire hose. The patented coupler design enables the continuous air supply, which can also be used to power air tools. Seeking to help small and medium fire departments replace paper documentation, incident management systems offer low-cost digitization.

Environmental awareness From Rosenbauer

A topic among fire apparatus companies is idle reduction systems designed to shut off the main engine in a fire apparatus when not needed, eliminating loud diesel engine noise and exhaust, while maintaining power for lighting and air conditioning, for example.

It is a reflection of growing environmental concerns among fire manufacturers. For example, Rosenbauer’s Green Star system makes idle reduction easy, using electronic controls to shut down the chassis engine on-scene (if the fire pump is not engaged or no aerial operations under way), and starting a diesel-driven Auxiliary Power Unit (APU).

Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumpers

The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service in Madison

Pierce launched their Volterra platform of electric vehicles. The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service in Madison, Wisconsin.

At FDIC International 2021, the Pierce booth included an electric vehicle technology kiosk and took attendees through the electric fire truck’s attributes.

CMC Rescue Rope and Harness Systems

CMC Rescue Inc. demonstrated rope and harness systems for rescue operations, including special duffle bags and access packs for easy transport of harnesses. The CMC Clutch is now available in 13 mm and 11 mm models, for hauling, lowering, ascending, descending, belaying and deploying twin-tension rope systems.

The CMC Triskelion 10-foot tripod features rapid deployment, for example, over a hole where a rescue is taking place and is certified to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards.

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Larry Anderson Editor, TheBigRedGuide.com, Notting Hill Media

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