Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fire scene safety boosted

Locating device aids firefighters


Technology developed a few years ago to rescue victims in avalanches has saved more than a dozen lives. The makers of a device based on the system are now hoping a gadget called the Tracker FRT will save the lives of firefighters, as well.

Firefighters use a variety of equipment to stay safe and increase accountability, including safety ropes; air packs; personal alert safety systems, also known as PASS devices; portable radios; thermal-imaging cameras; and hand tools, such as axes.

Exit Technologies has added to that list the Tracker FRT, or Tracker Firefighter Rescue Transceiver. The device, which has been on the market for about a year, works on the same technology created for making rescues from avalanches, said Bruce J. Edgerly, vice president of the Boulder, Colo.-based Exit Technologies.

Between 15 and 20 fire departments across the country are using the device, Mr. Edgerly said. The Charlton Fire Department was the first in the state to buy the equipment and quite possibly was the first in the country, as well, he added.