DATELINE (October 21, 2009) – Scott Health & Safety is proud to introduce the second generation of the Scott Electronic Management System (SEMS II) for on scene firefighter accountability. This remarkable accountability system puts the incident commander at every firefighter’s side, displaying information vital to personal safety in volatile and dangerous situations, while providing a continuous link of communications to the command station. And with its integrated personnel locator, it provides the peace of mind that a downed or trapped firefighter can be quickly found.
“Fire ground accountability and fire scene management are always key for any emergency standard operating procedure,” says Tony Topf, Scott’s Product Line Manager for Accountability products, “but firefighter safety and personnel accountability are the most important safety elements of any fire emergency operation. That is why we developed SEMS II system in conjunction with firefighters.”
Based on the concept of the first generation Scott SEMS product, SEMS II Accountability System was designed with significant improvements utilizing wireless functionality, mesh networking technology, and personal programming capabilities. It is a marked advancement in the field of firefighter safety and on-scene personnel accountability.
Scott’s SEMS II is a highly functional, programmable ID accountability system with three distinct, yet interconnected functions – a personal accountability system, a PASS (personal alert safety system) device, and a personnel location system. These functions provide the highest level of personal safety to the firefighter and an advance system of personnel accountability to the incident command center.
Scott incorporated all three functions into the new SEMS II accountability system to ensure initialization of all safety systems when the valve of the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air cylinder is opened. “There is no chance for a firefighter to forget to engage his PASS device, turn on his locator, or initiate the SEMS II unit with our integrated system,” says Mr. Topf.
The personnel accountability function of the SEMS II system operates as a two-way, visual and audible method of communications for all-calls and self-evacuations and monitors the assignment and status of over 100 firefighters on scene. Each SEMS II system includes a wireless transceiver that is built into the PASS device, that transmits critical information between the firefighter and base command when the PASS unit is automatically or manually activated. The incident commander receives transmissions from each activated SEMS II unit regarding the SCBA’s cylinder pressure level, firefighter immobility, self-evacuation, and range/link status from firefighters on scene. Better yet, Scott Health and Safety developed each SEMS II system to be a repeater so that operating ranges can be increased and provides the Incident Commander/Accountability Officer a peace of mind knowing that they can account for their personnel without range limitations found with other systems.
Unique to Scott’s SEMS II system is its patented mesh networking - the technology that allows continuous communication by hopping between SCBA until a destination is reached. More simply, all activated SEMS II units communicate to the incident command computer both directly and through other operating units. This forms a communications “mesh network” to the base station, extending the range for the furthest SCBA. The SEMS II system has proven to transmit via the wireless network at ranges longer than portable radios and from within structures where portable radios may have difficulty penetrating.
“The mesh networking technology is at the core of the system’s capabilities,” says Mr. Topf, “It allows firefighters to extend their search and firefighting operations further from the incident command, but still remain connected to the team. With the self-healing mesh technology, when one “mode” is disconnected or turned off, the signals transfer automatically to the rest of network maintaining constant connection for all firefighters on scene.”
Another distinguishing feature of the Scott SEMS II accountability system is the capability to customize the system per department, shift and firefighter. Using personal issue RFID identification cards to link a firefighter to a specific Scott Air-Pak® SCBA, the system can be changed infinitely to meet the needs of the department. At the beginning of a shift, each firefighter simply swipes their pre-programmed ID card to the back of the SEMS II console to program that specific SCBA unit with their personal information. The same Air-Pak SCBA can be reprogrammed as frequently as needed by individual firefighters. Each card has three programmable fields for firefighter identification that are programmed via an RFID tag writer and proprietary software.
Information from each active firefighter is received and monitored through an interface on the fire department’s own laptop computer that serves as the base station for SCBA users on scene, allowing the incident commander to continuously monitor vitals (air pressure, time on scene, PASS alarm status), send evacuation signals to assigned groups, individuals or all firefighters on scene, acknowledge PASS signals, establish or change assignments, and automatically record incident data.
“Because our system operates with most standard laptop, it makes the system completely mobile.” says Mr. Topf, “The command center is not tethered to a vehicle and can be placed anywhere on scene.”
The moment the base station is activated, and the SEMS II system is active on the SCBA, the identification and status information of each firefighter is automatically available. Once accepted to the incident, the firefighter system status can be continuously monitored. Operating on a 2.4 GHz frequency with Scott's patented mobile mesh network technology gives extended monitoring range for firefighters. The base station operator can signal evacuation of a single firefighter, a particular assignment, or by pressing a single EVAC button, evacuate all firefighters. Continual monitoring of each firefighter allows commanders to strategically plan the use of personnel.
In the case where a firefighter is trapped or injured with no contact to the incident command, the EMS II system becomes a vital tool in the search and rescue operations. Integrated into SEMS II is the same powerful 2.4 GHz RF technology that has made Scott’s Pak-Tracker™ Firefighter Locator System the premier personnel locator in the fire service. This distress alarm system is designed to help locate individuals within a distance of 900 feet by sending a signal to a hand held receiver that guides the searcher to the downed firefighter.
For record keeping, report generation, operational analysis, and training purposes, the SEMS II System records and stores incident information such as event date and time, department name, programmed tag information, actual event (log-on, pass alarm, etc.), cylinder pressure at the time of the event, and total time of SCBA usage.
Mr. Topf concludes, “With its numerous technological advancements, programmable capabilities, and focus on firefighter safety, there is no comparable personnel accountability system available today.”
More information regarding the new Scott SEMS II Accountability System can be found at Scott’s website at www.scotthealthsafety.com.
About Scott Health & Safety
Scott Health & Safety, a business unit of Tyco International, is a premiere manufacturer of innovative respiratory and other personal protective equipment and safety devices for firefighters, industrial workers, police squads, militaries, homeland security forces, and rescue teams around the world. With five global manufacturing locations, Scott produces products that protect thousands of individuals each day from environmental hazards including smoke, toxic fumes, combustible gases, falling objects, and contaminants. The Scott product line includes self-contained breathing apparatus, supplied air and air-purifying respirators, gas detection instruments, thermal imaging cameras, and firefighter locators.
Tyco International Ltd. is a global, diversified company that provides vital products and services to customers around the world. More information on Tyco can be found at www.tyco.com.