New Vehicle Safety Products Discussed at FDSOA

ORLANDO – There were some interesting new products teased at the annual Fire Department Safety Officers Association apparatus symposium today. 

Representatives from E-ONE, Task Force Tips and Zoll all made presentations this morning highlighting items to keep firefighters safe and make their jobs easier.

Collision Mitigation Radar

Joe Hedges, product manager for E-ONE, said the company will be introducing a collision mitigation radar-based system called OnGuard.

The system, Hedges said, has been used in over the road big rigs for years, but E-ONE is the only apparatus manufacturers that has it available.

“This is used all over the world, but fire apparatus is such a small percentage of the market, it hasn’t been used in fire apparatus,” Hedges said.

Hedges said the system builds on previously used components based by Meritor Wabco and adds a radar system that will help alert apparatus operators of impeding collisions.

“This system is not intended to replace a responsible driver,” Hedges said, adding that it is designed to help responsible drivers stay safer.

The system offers impending collision warning signals, including a short brake pulse to alert the driver that there is something impeding the path it’s on, Hedges said.

If that doesn’t get the firefighter/apparatus driver’s attention, it will apply the brake up to 50 percent of its capacity to get the vehicle to slow down, he said.

“If you are going to hit something, hitting it at 10 miles per hour rather than 60 miles per hour is going to reduce damage and injuries,” Hedges said.

The system scans three-lanes in front of an apparatus and engages “very late” to give apparatus operators time to control the vehicles on their own.

It also helps in poor weather conditions where visibility is an issue, Hedges said, noting that because it’s radar based, foggy and snowy weather do not affect the system. In fact it alerts drivers to obstacles that he might not see, affording time to avoid the collision.

The system will not operate under 15 miles per hour nor when the driver has taken control and started evasive action Hedges said.

“We’re the only ones in the fire service to have it,” Hedges said it.

'Road Safety'

Zoll also introduced a new product designed to keep firefighters safe with electronics. Brent Thor, a representative from Zoll, introduced its new product called Road Safety.

It is a system that proactively gives drivers feedback and performance monitoring by recording vehicle speed, braking and other information related to vehicle operations.

“It’s designed to reduce aggressive driving and improve overall safety,” Thor said. He added it has been used for ambulances and EMS organizations, but Zoll is pushing the product into the apparatus market as well. He added the system is designed to address the five percent of drivers who cause 95 percent of the problems.

Thor said Zoll will take the department’s protocols, or standard operating guidelines, to program the device.

There are also some other amenities that are part of the system, including converting the ambulance or apparatus into a mobile wifi hot spot which can be used to help EMS personnel file reports on-line from the apparatus.

Digital Flow Monitoring

Task Force Tips (TFT) also made some announcements about items it will be introducing in 2014. TFT Sales Doug Miller said the company will be introducing monitor controllers with digital read outs that will give operators information about flow and pressure.

“They’ll give you all sorts of information and they’ll be available on all hand-held controllers, as well as at the panel and tethered devices,” Miller said.

Miller also said the company has new large ball intake valves with lower profiles and swivels that are low profile to stay within the confines of the running boards.

Miller also touted the company’s education and online catalog systems.

Additional vendors will present what’s hot in their companies tomorrow at FDSOA.