INDIANAPOLIS -- Less than one year after global safety equipment manufacturer MSA Safety Incorporated (NYSE: MSA) established a new standard in firefighter respiratory protection with its revolutionary G1 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), the company is once again turning heads at the fire service industry’s largest trade conference with new SCBA features that further enhance firefighter protection.
At the 87th annual Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC) this week in Indianapolis, Ind., MSA showcased three new, game changing features for its G1 SCBA. These innovations include Bluetooth connectivity for portable gas detection instruments, a collaboration with Motorola Solutions to enable Bluetooth voice communications, and, an industry first – the integration of thermal imaging technology into the SCBA itself. While the integrated TIC concept is still in prototype form, showcasing the new technology at FDIC allows MSA product designers to gain important feedback from the fire service community first hand, explained Nish Vartanian, president of MSA North America.
“Since we launched our all-new G1 SCBA at FDIC last year, the response from the fire service has been overwhelming,” Mr. Vartanian said. “But for all of us at MSA, launching this product and receiving U.S. Government approval was just a first step. The advanced technology concepts that we’re introducing this week take firefighter safety to the next level.”
Through a new collaboration with Motorola Solutions, the G1 SCBA now features Bluetooth-enabled voice communications between firefighters, transmitted over Motorola Solutions APX radios. This elegant and wire-free solution reduces snag hazards and improves fire ground communications.
“This innovative solution demonstrates Motorola Solutions’ commitment to collaborating with other companies to advance firefighter safety,” said Claudia Rodriguez, Vice President, Motorola Solutions. “Our APX radios now connect to MSA’s G1 SCBA in an industry-first solution that enables firefighters to speak clearly to each other and their commander via Bluetooth® technology when wearing their G1 SCBA facepiece.”
While the G1 SCBA has featured Bluetooth capability since its launch, in anticipation of future technology uses, the ability to link with Motorola Solutions APX radios will be a new standard feature with the G1 beginning in the third quarter. This industry-first solution will also be available as a firmware update to existing units in the field later this year.
MSA’s commitment to integrating the most advanced technology into its product offerings doesn’t end with voice communications. MSA is also utilizing Bluetooth technology to integrate its leading gas detection technology into the G1 SCBA, which will now be able to transmit, through telemetry radio, readings from MSA’s Altair® 5X Portable gas detector. This connectivity allows incident command to remotely monitor potentially toxic environmental conditions on the fireground, or hazmat operation.
Finally, as the only SCBA on the market with a full color control module display, and with rapid advancements in Thermal Imaging Camera technology, the third addition to MSA’s advanced technology showcase is integrated thermal imaging technology built into the SCBA’s control module. Enabling the capability for integrated thermal imaging in a way that’s never been done before, this patent- pending design prototype will be unveiled for the first time at FDIC, marking an unprecedented advancement in personal thermal imaging.
“The G1 SCBA represents the single largest development effort in our company’s history,” Mr. Vartanian said. “But we are certainly not done. Our brand promise to firefighters – When you go in…We go in with you – is more than just words. It’s what drives us. In that spirit, we will continue to raise the bar to protect firefighters with advanced and integrated firefighting technology that has the potential to genuinely change the way fires are fought.”
Outside of the FDIC exhibit hall, attendees will also have the opportunity to take part in a personalized G1 “experience,” allowing individuals to experience its industry-leading features first hand at the HEAT event. Other MSA activities at FDIC include the company’s official sponsorship of the conference’s firefighter training classes and exercises, where participants will use MSA Evolution 6000 thermal imaging cameras.
“For the brave men and women who answer the call of fighting fire, our goal is to provide them with the most advanced safety equipment that helps protect them when their lives are on the line,” said Mr. Vartanian. “For all of us at MSA, nothing could be more exciting or fulfilling.”
Interested parties not in attendance at FDIC in Indianapolis can take a live look at MSA’s booth and the activity in the exhibition hall by logging on to MSA’s live Webcam feed at www.msasafety.com or by visiting MSA’s Facebook page.