1. #1
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    Default Grace Industries GEMS system

    Has anyone seen how these things work? They look like a interesting way to look a accountability. Also if you know anything about how much one of these units may run, I would apprecate it.


    Thanks
    LT/EMT Wright
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    My county has talked about purchasing one of these systems for each company. We attended a presentation on the system.

    Basically, the system works like this. Each member is given a pass device that has a plastic clip that acts like a key. When the "key" is removed, it activates the pass device. This is attached to a long strap so it is kind of hard to forget to take it off. The pass device sends a signal to the base unit (the big box) which is located on a truck or in a chief's vehicle. It also acts as a common pass device.

    Each pass device is registered to a firefighter and that information is loaded into the base unit. While on the fireground, the IC or accountability officer can just look at the screen to determine the status of each individual. If a firefighter goes down, the color of the screen changes for that person and an audible alarm sounds. Once the firefighter(s) are found, the system is reset.

    Also, the IC can evacuate individual firefighters or everyone on the system by selecting those individuals. For example, if the Chief wants to evacuate just the roof, he could just select those individuals working the roof and activate their pass devices.

    The only problems we discovered were: if you are near your station and active the system, you could receive a signal from any of the pass devices hanging on the gear since the pass device put out a signal even if it is not activated. Also, someone at your company would be responsible for updating the information for the base station.

    I almost forgot to mention that you can a signal booster (sort of like a repeater) for high rise buildings.

    As for price, I am not sure. I would think that you could get them through a FEMA grant or state grant. Also, it could be possible to purchase them county or district wide to reduce the prices.

    Finally, try doing a search on the web for them.

    I hope this helps and good luck.

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    For example, if the Chief wants to evacuate just the roof, he could just select those individuals working the roof and activate their pass devices.
    I'm assuming, FF's still need to let the Chief know where they are going? Like, how would the system know these guys are on the roof? Does someone have to enter all that info into the machine during a fire?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Yes, you have to assign crews in the base station. We're looking at the system ourselves, and Houston (among others) uses them around here, so it's good for interoperability too. This may seem like a bunch of work for someone to do, but NIMS requires an Accountability sector officer, so you will need to assign someone specifically to the task of using the base station and marking people to the different tasks that they were assigned. Manpower or Resource officer is probably how we're going to work it since they will be the one sending the crews.

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    BC79er-
    Thank you for your clarification on NIMs requiring the accountability officer for the base station. I was not aware of it.


    But the system will not work if a company does not already use an accountability or use it correctly. It comes down to the basics.

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    Correct, if you're not using ICS in the proper manner already, you're going to have a really uphill battle. We're figuring on assigning a Manpower or Accountability officer because in most cases it will be too much for Command to handle all at once. Houston has Safety Officers all around the city that run all major calls, and I believe they either take that over or tag team it with the district chief on scene or another officer.

    We will have a huge learning curve, we have nothing like ICS at all, just a roaming IC that ends up in the burning structure with no PPE sometimes. Really long and boring story that I'll spare y'all from.

    Plymouth Meeting eh? I really wouldn't recognize that area anymore, I hardly recognize Central Bucks when I come back north.

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    Most large departments will dispatch an additional Chief (BC, DC, etc) to serve as the safety officer. In most cases, the IC is too overwhelmed with everything else that is going on. The great thing is that the accounability officer does not have to be a designated company safety officer.

    We have ICs around my local who tend to wander around the fireground. All of my officers have the common sense to stay in one place and if they want to check the scene after things are under control, they usually assign another Chief to monitor everything. They also do a good job in keeping notes on everything that goes on. As Safety officer, I always update the IC and FAST team officer on any safety issues and firefighter position.

    As for Plymouth Meeting, I have been living here all my life and I still cannot figure out where they are putting everything. The only thing that has not changed is the Plymouth Meeting Mall to some extent. There are more housing developments and officer complexes that we have seen our number of AFAs jump a lot in the past 5 or so years.

    Best of luck and Stay safe in Texas.

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    We purchased this system at the end of last year. We are still in the training stages of using this system. We also puchased a Panasonic laptop with the Firesoft software to interface with the GEM control box. This allows the user to use the software for tracking as required by NIMS. Right now you need to use both the control box and the computer to get the full benifit of the system. By mid-summer the whole system will be able to be activated and be run from the computer (still interfacing with the control box). We purchased the GEM control box, 30 PASS devices with auto-detect, the laptop with the appropriate software basically the whole package for around $33,000. It does require someone to man the box and computer.

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    Have you found anywhere in your response area that is creating any problems? For example, if you have any high rises or tunnels.

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    So far the only limit is distance. The range is approx 1/2 mile for the PASS devices. If you have a remote water supply like we encounter this person will not register on the system. As far as on scene nothing yet but if we run into problems we will look into getting the repeater units. In evac mode the PASS devices act as repeaters also. Update on the price: $38,000 can read my own writing.

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    Thanks for the information. During the presentation that I attended, they stated that distance would be an issue especially hilly areas. Also, they stated if an incident occurs close to the station, you might have false signals from the pass devices of members who are not on scene.

    As for the cost, we were trying to get state and/or federal funding to pay for the items. I know that it is not cheap.

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    We were able to purchase ours using a DHS grant, otherwise we would not have been able to justify it to the town fathers.

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    Good luck with the system and if we ever go to the system, I will place a post

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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for all the information people!
    LT/EMT Wright
    I A C O J
    LOXLEY WARRIORS
    All opinions expressed are solely of my personal opinion and in no way reflect those of my department. This is for those of you who use a large stick to stir excrement.

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