August 28, 2009, Annapolis, MD - They put themselves in harms way to protect us. Now, a new product from Zephyr Technology™, is helping to protect firefighters and first responders in the line of duty by monitoring their vital signs in real-time. Zephyr's new BioHarness™ First Responder System (FRS 1000) offers unprecedented visibility of the physiological status of teams operating in the most challenging environments. Deployed over existing digital radio equipment, including the Motorola XTS series, the FRS 1000's real-time monitoring provides actionable information that can assist Incident Commanders and firefighters in making decisions, better managing fire scenes, improving safety, and potentially saving lives at the fireground, incident scene or in training.
Despite important advances in equipment and procedures, more than 100 US firefighters die in the line of duty every year, and many more suffer serious injury. Up until now, Incident Commanders have had no reliable means to assess the status of firefighters when they are at the scene or in training situations.
"Our FRS product, and the proven technology that underpins it, is helping to manage resources on and off the fireground. This makes the job safer and assists in getting the job done for the firefighting community," says Brian Russell, Zephyr's CEO.
"This innovation stands to make as big a difference for firefighter health and safety as did SCBA's back when they were introduced," says Jim Campbell, Division Chief of Safety and Education Services, Pike Township Fire Department, Indiana. "For the first time, Incident Commanders have a tool to monitor the workloads and physiological stresses to which they are subjecting their personnel. Commanders can, in real-time, better evaluate the workloads assigned to various crews and call in additional resources based on the feedback they are receiving on crew members' heart rates, respiration rates, temperatures, and movements. No longer do we have to work crews past the point of total exhaustion and potentially compromise their safety due to the lack of medical monitoring while performing assigned fireground tasks," explains Campbell.
Interoperability and communications are two of the key challenges that Zephyr has solved in the FRS 1000. The system uses existing digital radios to communicate physiological data back to remote locations in real-time, so there is no need to change or use a separate communications system. Zephyr has partnered with Motorola to seamlessly integrate the solution with data capable radios, including the Motorola XTS 1500, 2500 and 5000.
"Zephyr Technology has been a pioneer in the use of Physical Status Monitoring (PSM) in training and high stress operational environments. The company's work with local fire departments, the NASA Ames Human Systems Integration Research Group and multiple US Special Forces contracts has been invaluable in the development and validation of our technology, and its application in the most extreme operating environments" adds Jonathan Woodward, CTO at Zephyr™.
Learn more about Zephyr Technology at the FRI 2009 Expo, booth #3149 and at the Motorola booth in the Technology Pavilion.