Tracking System is the 'Future of Firefighting'

A group of engineers are attempting to advance firefighter locating systems light years beyond where they are today.

"This represents the future of firefighter safety. You look at the firefighter fatalities throughout the country and there are trends," he said. "(Firefighters) are disoriented, they come into an area of the building where they get away from their crew and the hose line where no one knows where they're at.

"You might have a few minutes to attempt a rescue and to have that location and direct a rescue team to that specific location is a huge step forward."

Edwards said the project has been in the works for close to three years and that it should at least two more years to get it ready for the marketplace.

"I believe we're ahead in the game and are developing products that are affordable, accessible and that work; that's the key," he said.

Edwards also noted that the TRX Sentinel project was funded in part of $825,000 FIRE Act grant received last year.

"With FIRE Act money you can either invest in one fire truck or something that will benefit the fire service across the country," he said. "This is a great example of leveraging that money."

The Congressional Fire Services Institute's Executive Director Bill Webb said the expansion of FIRE Act grant uses has allowed organizations such as MFRI to develop technologies that would otherwise go unfunded.

"It's definitely a good use of federal funding, there's no question about that," he said. "It's the type of stuff that we should have had yesterday.

"Steve was a big advocate in allowing grant money to be used for this type of funding. It is fascinating stuff and I hope that more people get exposed to the type of things they are doing."

Also presented at the symposium was the "Heads Up" SCBA temperature display by Dr. Marino DiMarzo and Dr. Amr Baz; the Firefighter 'Mayday' personnel accountability system by Grace Industries and presentation on the advances in human patient simulation by MFRI's Angela Bennett.